US missionary jailed for child sex crimes in Kenya

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

“A wolf in a sheep’s clothing.”

That is how the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigations described missionary Gregory Dow has have been convicted of sex crimes in Kenya and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Dow and his wife set up an orphanage in 2008 and now he has been jailed for abusing underage girls, who were 11,12 and 13 years at the time. He fled to the US in 2017 after the allegations emerged.

Dow pleaded guilty in the US to four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign place. As part of the plea agreement, Dow was, in addition to the jail term, also ordered to pay $16 000 in restitution.

Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the F.B.I. ‘s Philadelphia Division, described Dow as the proverbial wolf in a sheep’s clothing. 

In a statement, Driscoll said the F.B.I was determined to achieve justice for the Kenyan girls.

“If he thought no one would care because these were underprivileged Black children he victimized, this investigation and today’s sentence have most emphatically proved him wrong,” he said.

Prosecutors said the Kenyan girls at the orphanage were not Dow’s first underage victims. In 1996 he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a minor in Iowa, in the US. 

According to the charge sheet, Dow and his family traveled to Kenya and started an orphanage known as the Dow Family Children’s Home, in Bomet County. 

“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 Dow Family Children’s Home remained in operation until September 2017, at which time Kenyan authorities suspected that Dow had sexually abused children in his care. Dow fled Kenya when the allegations came to light, returning to Lancaster County.

“Acting on a tip, 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 implanted into their arms so that Dow could perpetrate his crimes without fear of impregnating his victims. In July 2019, he was charged in a four count Indictment. 

“Gregory Dow hid behind his supposed faith on the other side of the world, hoping no one in the U.S. would know or care about the children he abused. He was wrong. Holding those accountable who sexually abuse children, no matter where their crimes occur, will continue to be a top priority of my Office and the entire Department of Justice.”

The 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 Department of Justice. 

The investigation was conducted by the FBI with assistance from Kenyan authorities, the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and the East Hempfield Township Police Department.

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