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Press Release

Lancaster Man Pleads Guilty to Charges of Sexually Abusing Children in a Kenyan Orphanage

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Gregory Dow, 61, of Lancaster, PA entered a plea of guilty before United States District Court Judge Edward G. Smith on four counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign place, stemming from his operation of an orphanage in Kenya.

In early 2008, Dow and his family traveled from Lancaster County to the Republic of Kenya to start an orphanage. The orphanage, which came to be known as the Dow Family Children’s Home, was established in Bomet County, Kenya around April 2008. The defendant purported to be a Christian missionary who cared for these children and asked them to call him “Dad.” But instead of being a father figure, he preyed on their youth and vulnerability. The Dow Family Children’s Home remained in operation until September 2017, at which time Kenyan authorities suspected that Dow had sexually abused children in his care. Dow fled Kenya when the allegations came to light, returning to Lancaster County.

Acting on a tip, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the allegations and determined that Dow had sexually abused at least four teenage girls between October 2013 and September 2017. Two of the girls were as young as 11 years old when the abuse began. The defendant’s wife even transported the victims to a medical clinic to have birth control devices implanted into their arms so that Dow could perpetrate his crimes without fear of impregnating his victims. In July 2019, he was charged in a four count Indictment. Today, the defendant pleaded guilty to all counts.

“Gregory Dow hid behind his supposed faith on the other side of the world, hoping no one in the U.S. would know or care about the children he abused. He was wrong,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Holding those accountable who sexually abuse children, no matter where their crimes occur, will continue to be a top priority of my Office and the entire Department of Justice.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The investigation was conducted by the FBI with assistance from Kenyan authorities, the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and the East Hempfield Township Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Department of Justice Trial Attorneys Lauren Britsch and Lauren Kupersmith of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).


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Updated June 15, 2020

Project Safe Childhood