U.S. immigration officials have deported a former British Baptist minister and convicted sexual predator wanted for additional alleged sex crimes in the United Kingdom.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Aug. 16 that upon his release from a Virginia prison, 53-year-old Robert John Dando was accompanied by deportation officers on a commercial flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to Heathrow Airport in London and turned over to authorities there.
Dando, one-time unpaid traveling assistant to British Baptist leader David Coffey when Coffey served as president of the Baptist World Alliance, appeared at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. He is charged with 15 counts of sexual abuse relating to nine victims over 23 years. Charges include rape and sexual assault of boys in the south of England and Wales between 1986 and 2009.
At the time senior minister at Worcester Park Baptist Church in suburban London, Dando entered the United States in July 2010 under a program that allows citizens of certain countries into the country for tourism, business or while in transit up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.
He was arrested in Oakton, Va., on July 24, 2010, and eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually molesting the young sons of family friends while on visits to their Northern Virginia home over a period of several years. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in Fairfax County Circuit Court in 2011.
In May the Thames Valley Police Department in the United Kingdom notified ICE that Dando was wanted for the sexual assault of a minor in their jurisdiction. The Virginia Department of Corrections turned him over to immigration officials under a detainer policy that allows ICE to take custody of and deport aliens convicted of serious crimes in the U.S. in the interest of public safety. Deportation officers served him with a final order of removal.
“Immigration violators, especially those who prey on vulnerable children, have no place in the United States,” said Russell Hott, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Washington.
Dando resigned as pastor of his church when he was arrested in the United States. He was also removed from membership of Boys’ Brigade, a Christian youth organization similar to the Boy Scouts of America.
According to the Banbury Guardian, Dando was arrested in the U.K. Aug. 15 and charged the following day. He remains in custody awaiting a hearing in Oxford Crown Court at a date yet to be confirmed.