by Hayes Hickman, Knoxville News Sentinel
A former pastor convicted of repeatedly raping his adopted teenage daughter was handed an effective sentence of 12 years in prison Thursday by a Knox County judge, who weighed the severity of the crimes against an outpouring of support for the man from friends and family in court.
David Lynn Richards Jr. continued to maintain his innocence, as he had throughout his trial, while asking for leniency from Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword.
The Knoxville News Sentinel typically does not identify victims in sexual abuse cases, but Amber Richards chose to speak publicly after the February verdicts.
She sat on the opposite side of the courtroom Thursday, joined by a half-dozen others, including her biological parents, who she has reconnected with in recent years.
“I wanted to throw my body away,” Amber Richards said as she delivered 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.”
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