Pennsylvania missionary raped underage girls after wife implanted them with birth control devices at orphanage
EAST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA: A Pennsylvania missionary has been accused of raping four girls, some as young as 11 after his wife had them implanted with birth control devices at the orphanage they built in Kenya.
Gregory Hayes Dow, 61, of East Hempfield Township, and his wife Mary Rose Dow had arrived in Kenya in February 2008 to construct the orphanage and received support for the same from Lancaster County churches and nonprofits.
Dow's sexual misconduct first came to light on September 11, 2017, when a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl from the orphanage filed sexual harassment reports with the Kenyan police, according to Lancaster Online.
When Kenyan authorities visited the orphanage the next day, both Dow and his wife had fled the scene. They filed for an arrest warrant and extradition request around two weeks later, by which point the couple had flown to New York.
During their investigation, they uncovered that Mary Rose Dow had aided her husband in his crimes by taking the victims, as well as other girls at the orphanage, to a Kenyan clinic to have them implanted with birth control devices. It was something prosecutors said enabled Dow to "perpetrate these crimes without fear that the abuse would result in pregnancy."
Mary Rose Dow was eventually convicted of two counts of cruelty in connection to her husband’s case and sentenced to one year in prison in Kenya. However, she was allowed to return to the US after paying a $500 fine.
Dow continued to maintain his innocence and claimed that a former employee, and the man he purchased land from for the orphanage, had come up with a scheme to get the property back. He said that they had got a few "rebellious" teens to lie for the same.
Federal law, however, gives the U.S. "extraterritorial jurisdiction" over certain sex offenses against children. The 61-year-old was subsequently arrested in Pennsylvania, where he appeared before U.S. District Judge Edward Smith during a teleconference last Monday, June 15.
During the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Stengel said Dow had sexually assaulted the four girls between 2013 and 2017. When the abuse started, two girls were 11, one was 12 and one was 13, he said.
He said that Dow "engaged in grooming behavior by providing things of value to his victims" such as providing cell phones to some of the children, including one of the victims. He also pointed out that Dow had previously been convicted of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse against a teen in 1996.
When asked by Smith if he was admitting to the offenses the prosecution had accused him of, Dow answered in the affirmative. He went on to plead guilty to four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.
Under the terms of the plea agreement between the prosecution and defense, Dow will have to serve 15 years and eight months in prison and must register under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification act.
However, it will be up to Smith to accept the plea agreement. Dow's sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 29, when the judge will also determine how long the 61-year-old will have to remain under supervision after his release and how much in fines he will have to pay.
"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," said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain after the hearing. "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."