A former pastor at a Goose Creek church sexually abused a girl for eight years and now, because the girl came forward as an adult, he faces decades in prison.
James Doscher, a 63-year-old Ladson resident, pleaded guilty to the crime on Friday, 10 years after committing it. A circuit judge sentenced him to 26 years in prison.
Doscher once served as the pastor of New Life Church, authorities said. A witness who spoke on Doscher’s behalf in court said Doscher more recently served as a small group leader at Faith Assembly church in Summerville.
Faith Assembly Pastor Larry Burgbacher said that Doscher never worked on staff but that he belonged to the church.
“His family attended here and worshipped here, and we loved him like everyone else,” Burgbacher said. He declined to comment further.
Authorities said the abuse took place a decade ago, so Doscher faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the most serious charge against him.
Prosecutors said Doscher abused a girl for eight years, until she was 14. The girl told family members about the abuse when she was 12, but they did not act upon it, officials said.
The victim, as an adult, came forward to law enforcement officers. She told authorities she worried “that other children may be suffering Doscher’s abuse,” said Assistant Solicitor Anne Williams.
A circuit judge sentenced Doscher to 26 years in prison on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, 20 years on a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and 15 years on a charge of committing a lewd act on a child. The sentences will run concurrently, and Doscher must serve at least 85 percent of the 26 years.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Doscher’s case makes the important point that victims should speak up, no matter how long after the crime.
“This prosecution and the hefty sentence is a great message to victims who have not yet been heard,” Wilson said. “While these cases often have evidentiary challenges, we are willing to work with victims and their families to fight for them. It is never too late to come forward.”
Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ allysonjbird.