KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former pastor who repeatedly raped his adopted teenage daughter has been given an effective 12 year prison sentence.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports prosecutors sought the maximum term of 72 years behind bars. The judge cited David Richards longtime ministry and the support he still receives as mitigating factors.
More than 30 people showed up to support Richards at the sentencing last week.
The victim was 16 when she reported the abuse, saying it began two years earlier.
"I wanted to throw my body away," she said while delivering her victim impact statement Thursday.
"Not a day goes by that I don't, in some way, think of what he did to me ... I firmly believe if given the opportunity, he would victimize another young girl."
She told authorities where they could find DNA evidence at her home and said Richards had texted her about taking their relationship "to the next level." Authorities said they found her mattress stripped bare and his phone factory reset, but they were able to recover his DNA.