Last week, pastor, David Lynn Richards Jr., was sentenced to twelve years of jail time in Knoxville, Tennessee. However, the prosecutors wanted to give him a life sentence - God knows he deserves it.
The victim, Richards' daughter, Amber, decided to not stay anonymous and to go public with her statement. She said that she "wanted to throw [her] body away" every day in the years that her father raped and abused her. But she promised to keep fighting.
Unfortunately, Judge Steven Sword seemed to be more moved by the rapist's "church ways" than the poor girl's horror.
But even though he was unable to do his job right, the rest of the world did what they could to rectify the problem. People have condemned Richards and are hoping in prison he'll get the real justice Amber deserves.
Scroll down for more details about the case, the judge's decision, and a video of Amber's reaction to the court's decision.
"Knoxville is a progressive, friendly, and rapidly growing city," writes the town's official website.progressive if the judges there can’t tell right from wrong.
It’s a very religious town.Best Places, are Protestant Christians.
So when you hear that someone is suing a pastor, you know they don’t have much of a chance.
On Thursday, one such pastor was given a soft sentence because, to quote Michael Stone, Patheos, "nothing says 'good Christian man' like rape and incest."sentenced to just twelve years in prison after the judge decided that, because he had done a lot of good work for his church, he didn't deserve life behind bars.
The prosecutors wanted the maximum term - seventy-two years.
via: ShutterstockBut the judge said no, Knox News reports. It seems that he believed that doing good work for the church outweighs years of rape, abuse, and even lying in court under oath (and to the judge himself) - more on that later.
So he gave him a sixty-year discount.
via: ShutterstockRichards was eventually found guilty of 9 felony counts.
These included rape and incest.
The court listened to the victim's testimony.
She had been abused for 2 years before she reported it.
"I wanted to throw my body away," she said. "Not a day goes by that I don’t, in some way, think of what he did to me… "added, "I’m not going to let him ruin my life. You can’t keep me down… I will keep fighting."
She also said that she "firmly believes if given the opportunity, he would victimize another young girl."
She was joined by 6 other people, including her biological parents who she'd found in the recent years.
Knox County Criminal Court Judge, Steven Sword.
Richards went to the stand and blamed the victim for being raped.
He said, "I stand before you convicted of crimes I did not commit."
He lied even though there was evidence against him.
via: ShutterstockKnox News reports, "Forensic testing uncovered the presence of seminal fluid on the girl’s bed frame which was then matched to Richards via DNA testing."
The judge "had a lot of freedom" when it came to his sentencing decision.
via: ShutterstockThat's because "most of the charges Richards was convicted of - including rape - are punishable by probation alone under state law."
"Only the charge of sexual battery by an authority figure requires a minimum of three years mandatory imprisonment."
via: ShutterstockEventually, Judge Sword weighed Richards' crimes against his longtime work as a pastor and support from family and friends, concluding that twelve years is enough to pay for the trauma that Amber will carry with her for the rest of her life.
He was swooned by the fact that the pastor continued his work even behind bars.
via: Shutterstock"He began a Bible study among his fellow inmates while jailed at the Knox County Detention Facility."
People showed up in court to support Richards.
via: ShutterstockKnox News says that more than thirty people sat on Richards' side in the courtroom.
One of them was David Thompson, who shared ministry duties with him at My Father's House Church of God in Lenoir City.
via: Google Maps/UniLadHe supported the lenient sentence, saying, "I find it impossible for me to believe he's guilty of this."
"His business needs him. His family needs him. Our church needs him." Well, Amber needs justice.
And the horrible case still isn't over.
via: RDDJRichards has hired a new attorney, Stephen Ross Johnson, hoping to seek a new trial.
Even though Judge Sword couldn’t do his job properly, the rest of the world is certainly doing its best to do it for him.
@HumanRtsV @FBI @FBIMemphis @RAINN @CivilRights @Knoxville_PD @BillLeeTN @GovBillLee If this isn't a failure of the… https://t.co/4JlPVKzYz3— Christopher Cooke (@Christopher Cooke)1557899756.0
@EAKozmoz wrote, "I hope his hard time is truly terrible and nightmarish for him."
@HumanRtsV @FBI @FBIMemphis @RAINN @CivilRights @Knoxville_PD @BillLeeTN @GovBillLee #Tennessee SHAME!!!!!!— KariResists (@KariResists)1557961663.0
@feloneouscat said, "Throw them both in a hole."
@HumanRtsV @FBI @FBIMemphis @RAINN @CivilRights @Knoxville_PD @BillLeeTN @GovBillLee Are all of these judges religi… https://t.co/BYKVQ2eJvb— Susan Hunt (@Susan Hunt)1557882903.0
The judge’s decision especially doesn’t make when sense when you compare it to other convictions.A lot of people have gone to prison for a much longer time for less heinous crimes.
Such as this poor guy:
Charles here robbed a Popeyes with a toy gun when he was 16 and the judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison. Aft… https://t.co/yYt0BdbeCA— Chief Resistance Officer (@Chief Resistance Officer)1557793426.0