An American missionary and philanthropist who set up an orphanage in Kenya has been sent to 15 years in prison and a lifetime of supervision after his conviction for sex crime and abuse of teenage children, a US attorney said on Thursday.
Acting United States Attorney, Jennifer Arbittier Williams, announced that Gregory Dow, 61, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania district, was sentenced to 15 years, eight months in prison, a lifetime of supervised release.
Dow was also ordered to pay US$16,000 in restitution by United States District Judge, Edward Smith, for sexually abusing four minor children in an orphanage which the defendant and his wife operated in Kenya.
The Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI), welcomed the decision of the US court, saying it proved that victims of sexual abuse and pedophilia would be safer due to global cooperation.
The DCI said its Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) revealed that Dow, had sexually abused at least four minors between October 2013 and September 2017, before his dark secrets were unmasked. He then fled Kenya to Lancaster County in the U.S.
“Our officers with the help of the U.S Embassy, the FBI and other Multi agency teams were hot on his (Dow) trail,” the DCI said in a statement posted on social media.
Dow established the Children’s Home in 2008 under the guise of Christianity, with financial support from Churches and Faith-based organizations from the U.S.
The orphanage, which came to be known as the Dow Family Children’s Home, was established near Boito, Bomet County in Kenya’s Rift Valley region.
In September 2017, Kenyan authorities learned that Dow had sexually abused children in his care.
According to the US Prosecutors, acting on information provided by Kenyan women living in the United States, the FBI investigated the allegations and determined that Dow had sexually abused at least four teenage girls between October 2013 and September 2017.
Two of the girls were as young as 11 years old when the abuse began.
“The defendant’s wife even transported the victims to a medical clinic to have birth control devices, which allowed Dow to perpetrate his crimes without fear of impregnating his victims. The defendant purported to be a Christian missionary who cared for these children and asked them to call him ‘Dad’. But instead of being a father figure, he preyed on their youth and vulnerability,” the US attorney said in the statement.
In July 2019, Dow was charged in a four-count Indictment. He pleaded guilty to all four counts in June 2020.
Acting U.S. Attorney Williams said: “His crimes are nearly incomprehensible in their depravity. We thank the witnesses in this case for coming forward to report him, and our law enforcement partners in the United States and in Kenya for working diligently to bring him to justice. It is no exaggeration to say that the world’s children are safer with Dow behind bars.”
The Dow case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the US Department of Justice.
Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.