FAIRFAX, Va. (ABP) – A former British Baptist pastor was sentenced July 22 to eight years in prison for sexually abusing two boys while visiting a family friend in the United States.
Robert Dando, former senior minister at Worcester Park Baptist Church in suburban London, pleaded guilty last November to four counts of aggravated sexual battery of a victim under 13. The charges stemmed from allegations that he began fondling the boys when they were 7 and 8 and continued the abuse over the course of five years.
Dando was arrested last July in Oakton, Va., after one of the alleged victims came forward in December at age 21, and further investigation revealed similar allegations by a 17-year-old.
Dando, 47, will serve his sentence in the U.S. Since his arrest he has been held without bond at the Fairfax County Detention Center. He was originally scheduled for sentencing in January, but the hearing was postponed after his lawyer requested a psychiatric evaluation for his client.
After his arrest Dando resigned as pastor of Worcester Park Baptist Church after three years. He was removed from membership of Boys’ Brigade, a Christian youth organization in which his wife was a vice president.
The Sutton Guardian reported that police are following “a number of leads” about possible alleged victims in the UK. Dando served as pastor of another Baptist church before coming to Worcester Park and as an associate pastor at a third.
A spokesperson for Worcester Park Baptist Church told the newspaper that any allegations of sexual abuse within the Baptist Union of Great Britain “would be reported to police and social services immediately.”
From 2005 to 2007 Dando served as an unpaid traveling assistant to David Coffey, at the time president of the Baptist World Alliance.
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.