Activists Press Stafford Abuse Case

By Keith Epps
Free Lance-Star
July 26, 2008

Members of a national group against sex abuse came to Stafford yesterday to show support for a county man who was sexually abused as a teenager by a minister.

A handful of members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were at the Stafford Judicial Center yesterday to lobby for a stiff penalty for the Rev. George Lowe, who has pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.

Lowe molested Ben Marsh multiple times in 1984 and 1985, starting when Marsh was 15. Marsh, who has said he wants his name used, was also on the courthouse steps yesterday.

"Rev. George Lowe was my pastor and I trusted and admired him," Marsh said. "He betrayed this trust. His betrayal changed my life dramatically."

Lowe will be sentenced Aug. 25 in Stafford Circuit Court. Becky Ianni, the Virginia director of SNAP, said her group hopes Lowe gets the maximum sentence and urged any other victims to come forward.

"We are here today to urge Judge [Gordon] Willis to impose a stiff sentence on this admitted child molester," Ianni said. "We strongly believe he could molest again."

Lowe, 71, was the pastor at Mount Hope Baptist Church in Stafford for 43 years until he was removed following his arrest. He is well known in the community and had a good reputation.

Marsh first made his allegations years ago, but authorities decided there was insufficient evidence.

The case appeared dead until last year, when police got Marsh to wear a wire and talk to Lowe about what had occurred years before.

During the taped conversation, Lowe made incriminating statements about his earlier activities.

SNAP members were handing out fliers about the case until a Stafford deputy informed them that soliciting was not allowed on public property.

Among those handed a flier was George Marzloff, Lowe's attorney.



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