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BY KEITH EPPS
The longtime pastor of a church in Stafford was indicted yesterday on nine child molestation charges stemming back well over 20 years.
The Rev. George O. Lowe, 70, the pastor at Mount Hope Baptist Church for the past 43 years, is charged with six counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and three counts of crimes against nature.
The direct indictments handed down by a Stafford grand jury are the result of alleged incidents at the church in 1984 and 1985 involving a teenage boy.
The victim, who is now 39, told The Free Lance-Star yesterday that the molestation started in 1984 when he was 15. He said he was a member of the church and had gone to Lowe for counseling.
The man's name is being withheld because The Free Lance-Star does not publish the names of alleged sexual assault victims.
He said the sexual acts occurred repeatedly, at least 20 times. The victim said he continued going to Lowe for counseling because his mother made him. The mother didn't know about the molestation, he said.
The man said he left the church when he became an adult and contacted police when he was about 20. Police investigated, but filed no charges.
The man said he contacted police again recently. This time, he said, police put a wire on him when he went to Lowe's office to discuss the things that happened years ago.
The man said the recorded statements made by Lowe that day led to the indictments. Police would not discuss the specifics because the case is still pending.
The man said he continued pursuing the case years later because he feels that Lowe deserves to be brought to justice.
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 claimed that Lowe's actions were a contributing factor.
It was not clear yesterday when Lowe would be arraigned in Stafford Circuit Court. A trial date will be set at the arraignment.
All of the charges against Lowe are Class 6 felonies, which carry a maximum of five years in prison.
However, he would be eligible for parole if convicted because the alleged crimes occurred before Virginia's no-parole system took effect.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404