An American national will spend nearly 16 years in prison for sexually abusing four minors at a children’s home he ran with his wife in Bomet County, Kenya.
Gregory Hayes Dow, 61, from Lancaster in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places during a teleconference with U.S. District Judge Edward Smith on Monday.
Dow assaulted four underage girls between 2013 and 2017 while running Dow Family Children’s Home in Boito, Kenya, which he established in 2008.
The court heard that when the abuse started, two girls were 11, one was 12 and one was 13 years old.
The prosecution noted that Dow “purported to be a Christian missionary who would care for these orphans. They called him ‘Dad.’ But instead of being a father figure for them, he preyed on their youth and vulnerability.”
“He used force and coercion to perpetrate the most heinous of crimes, preying on vulnerable children for his own sexual gratification,” said the federal prosecutors as quoted by the LNP daily newspaper in Lancaster.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Stengel noted that Dow’s wife had taken the victims, and other girls at the orphanage, to a Kenyan clinic to have birth control devices implanted, and as a result, Dow “was able to perpetrate these crimes without fear that the abuse would result in pregnancy.”
The apparent pedophile pleaded guilty following a plea agreement that he would serve 15 years and eight months in prison. Dow must also register as a sex offender under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Gregory and his wife, Mary Rose Dow, arrived in Kenya on February 27, 2008, and set up the orphanage which received financial support from Lancaster County churches and nonprofits.
On Sept. 11, 2017, a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl from the orphanage filed sexual harassment reports with Kenyan police. The next day Kenyan investigators visited the children’s home but the Dows had already fled.
Mary Rose Dow was in January 2008 sentenced in Kenya to one year in prison or to pay a fine of about $500 U.S. after being convicted of two counts of cruelty in connection to her husband’s case. She paid the fine and returned to the U.S.
Gregory was arrested July 12, 2019, in Lancaster; he pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing the four girls and was placed in custody because he was considered a flight risk.