American Gets 15 Years for Abuse at Kenyan Orphanage

Gregory Dow, 61, started the home with his family
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2021 3:43 PM CST
American Gets 15 Years for Abuse at Kenyan Orphanage
Craig Steadman, center, Lancaster County district attorney, announces charges against Gregory Dow in 2019.   (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

An American who ran an orphanage in Kenya has received a prison sentence of more than 15 years after being convicted of sexually abusing four girls there. Gregory Dow "traveled halfway around the world to prey on incredibly vulnerable victims," a federal prosecutor said. "His crimes are nearly incomprehensible in their depravity." Dow, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty last year to four counts of abusing girls over four years, the New York Times reports. His youngest victims were 11 years old. An FBI official said agents were determined to build the case against Dow. "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.

Dow and his family moved to Kenya in 2008 to start the Dow Family Children's Home, which received donations from the US. Prosecutors said Dow knew that his wife had birth control devices implanted in the arms of his victims. After allegations of sexual abuse surfaced in 2017, prosecutors said, Dow shut the orphanage and left Kenya. He'd also pleaded guilty in 1996 to sexually abusing a minor in Iowa. On Thursday, the court ordered Dow, 61, to pay $16,000 in restitution. A period of supervised release will follow his prison term, per WPMT. "The defendant purported to be a Christian missionary who cared for these children and asked them to call him ‘Dad,’” prosecutors said in a statement, per the Raleigh News & Observer. "But instead of being a father figure, he preyed on their youth and vulnerability.” (Read more sexual abuse stories.)

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