LANCASTER, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A Christian missionary from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison Thursday for sexually assaulting girls at a Kenyan orphanage he led. Gregory Dow, 61, of Lancaster, and his family started the Dow Family Children’s Home near Boito, Kenya, in 2008 and operated it for about a decade with some funding coming from U.S. churches and faith-based groups.

Federal prosecutors say he returned home in 2017 when Kenyan authorities began investigating sexual abuse allegations.

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The FBI said he abused four girls, including two who were 11 years old when the abuse began. Prosecutors said his wife even took his victims to a medical clinic for birth control implants, enabling his crimes.

“Gregory Dow was the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Michael Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He presented himself as this big-hearted man who was living according to his faith, when all the while, he was sexually abusing girls placed in his care. These horrific crimes were a betrayal of an entire community’s trust. If Dow thought he could get away with it because he was in a different country, 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.”

Dow pleaded guilty to the four-count indictment last year.

“Under the guise of faith-based charity work benefiting orphaned children, Gregory Dow traveled halfway around the world to prey on incredibly vulnerable victims,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. “His crimes are nearly incomprehensible in their depravity.”

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The federal public defenders representing Dow did not immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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