Stafford minister jailed for sex with boy in '80s ^ | 05.28.08 | KEITH EPPS

Posted on Sunday, July 06, 2008 9:43:26 PM

A Stafford County minister went to jail yesterday after admitting that he molested a teenage boy more than 20 years ago. The Rev. George O. Lowe, 71, pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. Seven other charges were dropped.

His bond was revoked and Lowe is expected to remain in jail at least until he is sentenced in August. Lowe was the pastor at Mount Hope Baptist Church in Stafford, Virginia for 43 years until he was removed after being indicted earlier this year.

According to prosecutor Eric Olsen, the molestation took place in 1984 and 1985 at the church. The boy, whose family attended Lowe's church, was supposed to be getting counseling from Lowe. Olsen said Lowe repeatedly touched the boy's private parts and performed oral sex on him. The victim said the abuse occurred at least 20 times.

Olsen said the victim reported the incidents to his family and to a deacon in the church several years later, and a meeting with Lowe was arranged. Lowe quoted Scripture during that meeting regarding Christians not taking other Christians to court, Olsen said.

The victim later went to Sheriff's Office, Olsen said, but Lowe denied the allegations and police determined there was not enough evidence to bring charges. The case was closed, but was reopened last year by Detective Don Lenhart.

Lenhart got the victim to wear a wire and talk to Lowe about what had occurred years before. During the taped conversation, Lowe said he was sorry about what had happened and that God had already punished him. Olsen said Lenhart took the tape to Lowe, who confessed.

The victim yesterday said that he was happy that Lowe is finally being held accountable for his actions. The man said he's had a lot of problems in life, including drug and alcohol abuse, a suicide attempt, a failed marriage and prison. He believes Lowe's actions were a contributing factor.

"For more than 20 years I've been waiting to get this over with," the man said. "He betrayed my family's trust in the worst possible way, and now the blame can be put where it belongs." Lowe will be facing a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced. He will be eligible for parole because the crimes occurred before Virginia's no-parole system took effect.