Black Collar Crime

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Leader Jesse Francisco Hernandez Perez Accused of Sex Crimes

jesse francisco hernandez perez

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Jesse Francisco Hernandez Perez,  a youth leader at Iglesias de Restauracion in Santa Ana, California stands accused of sexually assaulting two church girls.  CBS-Los Angeles reports:

One of the alleged victims is 11-years-old, police said.

Authorities said Jesse Francisco Hernandez Perez, 22, texted the victim and ordered the girl into a second-floor church bathroom where he sexually assaulted her during church services in March.

He is accused of also sexually assaulting a 14-year-old, also a member of the church.

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Perez has been with the church for about three years.

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Officials said Hernandez Perez is also a youth leader and a member of the church music group.

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The alleged assault in the bathroom was “extremely disturbing,” says Sgt. Anthony Bertagna.

“Apparently, there are multiple levels to this church,” he said, “and one day a week the men and the women are supposedly separated and he took advantage of that.”

One woman familiar with the church said, “He looks familiar. There’s always a big group here with a lot of kids. And they always do food events, which they give food to people who come here, to the church. And I just hope there are no more victims. I’m praying for the little girl, that she can move on.”

Sex crimes detectives say the 14-year-old alleged victim told them she was assaulted last month during a youth service at Hernandez Perez’ Anaheim home.

Black Collar Crime: Baptist CFO Roy McClendon-Thompson Accused of Embezzlement and Murder

roy mcclendon thompson

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Roy McClendon-Thompson,  the chief financial officer for Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested weeks ago and charged with embezzling over $100,000 from the church. McClendon-Thompson was released on a $15,000 bond. On April 8, McClendon-Thompson shot and killed his alleged lover, 45-year-old James Curtis Jones. Later that same day, with police in hot pursuit, McClendon-Thompson crashed into a dump truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Black Collar Crime: Mormon Sunday School Teacher Noel Anderson Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison

noel anderson

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In March 2018, I posted a story about Mormon Sunday school teacher Noel Anderson’s arrest on aggravated sexual assault charges. At the time, Anderson admitted molesting ” four children between the ages of two and six over the past seven years.”  Yesterday, Anderson, 23, was sentenced to fifty years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Anderson’s arrest and conviction troubled his fellow church members.  One church member said, “He was an outstanding youth in our church. The gold standard for what you would want your son to grow up to be.” He may have been an “outstanding youth,” but he was also a sexual predator. Faith does not protect children from such people.

I do find myself wondering what, exactly, went wrong with this boy. News reports say that Anderson molested these children for seven years. This means he was 15 when he began preying on children.  While my heart goes out to the victims, I do feel sorry for Anderson. He will be 73 years old before he is released from prison. I wonder, what drove him to molest these children? Was there anything in his past, his upbringing, that was a contributing factor? Were there other victims, children that have not come forward? How did Anderson behave while on mission?

One thing is for certain, child molesters don’t stop harming children until they are caught.  I have no doubt that the victims coming forward saved other children from being preyed upon by Anderson. If they had not spoken up, Anderson would have continued in his predatory ways.  More ruined lives left in the wake of his vile behavior.

Black Collar Crime: Zachary Wachholz Facing Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior With Minors

zachary wachholz

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Zachary Wachholz, a middle school/high school ministry volunteer at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas, stands accused of inappropriate behavior with numerous church teens. Ed Newton, pastor of Community Bible, released the following statement:

In recent days, my heart was broken when I was informed that a part-time employee admitted to our executive pastor that the employee had engaged in inappropriate behavior with several minors in our youth ministry. We believe that this was limited to less than 10 victims, but clearly, even one victim is too many.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved in this tragedy.

We immediately notified law enforcement authorities, and the detectives limited what we can say at this time due to their ongoing investigation.

However, what I can share is that the acts involving all but one of the reported victims involved inappropriate electronic communication on electronic devices through social media platforms. One victim who was identified in the employee’s confession involved more than electronic communication. But whether it is inappropriate electronic communication or inappropriate physical contact, it is wrong and illegal and will not be tolerated at all!

Our primary concern right now is for all victims and families. They have all been contacted by our pastoral staff for the purpose of coming alongside them with love, support, counseling and prayer. Please pray for them.

The perpetrator has to remain nameless due to the ongoing investigation at this time. But, as I said, this person was a part-time employee. Prior to hiring this person, our church conducted a full background investigation, references were interviewed and numerous interviews of the potential employee were conducted. There was absolutely no reason to believe that this person posed a risk. Let there be no misunderstanding, this part-time employee was immediately fired from our staff upon learning of this information; this person has been issued a trespassing warrant, so as to prevent access onto our campus or attend any CBC related events.

In closing: This is a difficult time for the victims, the families and our church. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities. We are praying and doing our best to provide compassionate support to the victims. Also, we are praying for the perpetrator. We ask to join us in prayer.

Community Bible is an Evangelical multi-campus megachurch.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Christopher Cox Accused of Rape

pastor christopher cox

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Christopher Cox, pastor of Long Lake Church in Traverse City, Michigan, stands accused of luring two men to his office and raping them after incapacitating them with methamphetamine and GHB.

The Traverse City Record Eagle reports:

Michigan State Police investigators interviewed a 19-year-old man who claimed Cox contacted him March 12 looking for a “drug buddy,” according to court records. Cox promised the man — who was homeless at the time — drugs and women if he came back with Cox to his home, the man claimed.

Cox gave the man meth to smoke and “CBD shots,” making the man “extremely inebriated,” according to a probable cause statement. Cox raped the man numerous times over the course of several hours that night, according to the account.

The accuser said Cox dropped him off at Safe Harbor the following morning, threatening to kill him if he told anyone about the night prior.

Records show the accuser went to Munson Medical Center where a sexual assault exam revealed bruising and redness “consistent with anal trauma.”

Mike McDonald, chairman of Safe Harbor’s executive board, said homeless people are much more likely to be victimized than the average person.

“It’s appalling to me that something like this could happen to anybody under any circumstances, especially by someone who purports to be a minister,” McDonald said.

A second man told troopers that Cox gave him meth sometime in October 2018 at Cox’s office in Traverse City — Moeggenberg did not immediately know the location. Like the account given by the other man, Cox gave the man meth and waited until he was high, drunk and incapacitated before assaulting him, despite the man’s efforts to fight him off, records show.

The man told Michigan State Police troopers that Cox stopped several hours later, claiming he had to get back to his wife and child.

“Based on what I know, I would be surprised if there weren’t more victims,” Moeggenberg said.

A search of Cox’s home and office uncovered items like lubricant, male enhancement pills, a blindfold and nylon webbing police suspect was used for bondage, records show.

They also found lighters, glass pipes, single-use syringes, meth and a substance police believe was GHB, known as the “date rape drug,” according to records. Moeggenberg said investigators also seized electronic devices. MSP’s Computer Crimes Unit searched the devices recovered during the March 18 search and uncovered “additional evidence,” according to a press release.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Anthony Brooks Indicted on Sexual Abuse Charges

pastor anthony brooks

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Anthony Brooks, pastor of Jesus House of Believers Worship Center in Florence, Kentucky, was indicted Friday on five counts of first-degree child sexual abuse.

Brooks’ church bio page states:

Pastor Anthony is the Senior Pastor of JHOB-WC Ministries located in the Cincinnati  OH / Lawrenceburg, IN. area. Pastor Anthony began ministering in the year of 1998 to lost souls in the Jackson,Ms. area.  While ministering in Mississippi, it was the year of 1999 when God gave Pastor Anthony a vision with purpose and passion. That vision is Jesus House Of Believers Ministries inc. (JHOB-WC) for a city and area that he himself had only passed though once.

God used Pastor Anthony behind the scenes to minister the restoring message of God’s love, forgiveness and grace to all man and to lead the lost to salvation though Jesus Christ. Ministering to lost souls remains the passion of Pastor Anthony today.

Shortly after Pastor Anthony began ministering to lost souls in the Jackson Ms. area, God relocated Pastor Anthony to Dallas TX. to serve in the area of inner city outreach, specializing in family & Drug counseling where he still specialize. He is also specializing in intercessory prayer leadership and training, church leadership, pastoral leadership, and church planting.  He also served in many areas of ministry, such as outreach ministry , music ministry and youth ministry just to name a few. The love and passion of ministering to lost souls allowed Pastor Anthony to serve, work and learn from some awesome men of God.  From the year of 1998 to 2014 Pastor Anthony held many leadership positions in ministry while the vision of  JHOB-WC ministry was still his life purpose, passion, and promise. On Feb 9, 2010, God spoke on His promise and vision (for Pastor Anthony to write down the vision) along with a date to birth the ministry of JHOB-WC in the very city where he and his Wife Co- pastor Kimberly Brooks and three kids are ministering this very day…

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brooks was released on a $5,000 cash bond. That’s right $5,000.  The judge who released Brooks on such a low bail ought to ashamed of himself. Nothing says, “we don’t take sexual abuse seriously,” as letting alleged abusers out of jail without making them post substantial bail. I suspect Brooks got the “preacher’s discount.”  Some members of law enforcement and the judiciary have a hard time believing men of God could do such things. However, as the Black Collar Crime series makes clear, clergymen can and do take sexual advantage of children and adults. They should be afforded the same harsh treatment as the rest of us when accused of serious sexual crimes against children. Brooks is certainly innocent until proven guilty, but prosecutors don’t bring such cases before grand juries without credible evidence that a crime has been committed. And if Brooks did indeed commit these crimes, it is certainly possible that this victim was not his first. And that’s why alleged abusers should be given high enough bail to keep them behind bars until law enforcement can see if there are other victims.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Philip Grandine Convicted of Manslaughter

philip grandine

Philip Grandine, pastor of Ennerdale Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada, was convicted earlier this month of killing his pregnant wife. Grandine’s first conviction was overturned on a technicality. The CBC reports:

A former Toronto pastor accused of secretly sedating his pregnant wife before she drowned in the bathtub was found guilty of manslaughter Thursday, his second conviction in a case that has spanned more than seven years.

Jurors convicted Philip Grandine Thursday after deliberating for just over a day.

The man, who has been out on bail for more than six years while the case wound its way through the justice system, looked straight ahead as the verdict was read.

Prosecutors alleged Grandine drugged his wife with the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam, better known as Ativan, so she wouldn’t be as vigilant while he continued an affair with her friend.

The Crown alleged he then did not prevent Anna Karissa Grandine from getting in a bath in her incapacitated state one night in October 2011.

Anna Grandine was 20 weeks pregnant when she died. Tests later revealed she had lorazepam in her blood despite never being prescribed the drug.

Defence lawyers had argued Anna Grandine took the medication herself and either slipped in the tub, hitting her head and drowning, or took her own life.

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The Crown alleged Grandine was behind the searches, noting some occurred roughly at the same time as searches for escorts and other sex-related topics. Prosecutors also said lorazepam was not a drug that should be used by pregnant women and Anna Grandine was conscientious about the health of her baby.

The defence argued it was Anna Grandine who looked up lorazepam, suggesting she sought to self-medicate in light of the recent upheaval in her life.

Court heard Philip Grandine stepped down as pastor after it came to light that he was having an affair with a parishioner, who was also his wife’s friend. The congregation, to which Anna Grandine belonged, was also told of the affair, court heard.

Another pastor agreed to give them marriage counselling if Philip Grandine stopped cheating and gave up pornography, conditions the couple accepted, court heard.

But Grandine quickly resumed the affair and over time, his wife became suspicious, even challenging him on the issue in an early October counselling session, court heard.

Then, in mid-October, Anna Grandine suddenly experienced dizziness, fatigue and other symptoms, prompting her husband to take her to hospital, court heard. Her sister said Anna Grandine was afraid; her mother testified the 29-year-old asked her husband if he had given her a pill, which he denied.

Three days later, Anna Grandine drowned in the bathtub. Court heard toxicology tests detected Ativan in her system and then checked the samples taken during her hospital visit, where they also found the drug.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Larry Mullins Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse

pastor larry mullins

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Earlier this year, I posted a story about Larry Mullins, pastor of Apostolic Christian Ministries in Nebraska City, Nebraska being arrested and charged with sexually abusing a minor.  On Wednesday, Mullins was found guilty of two counts of first degree sexual assault of a child and six other charges.

The Sandhills Express reports:

In closing arguments, Defense Attorney Robert Schaefer said the 70-year-old Mullins has been afflicted with hip and back problems leading to surgery and said he suffers from long-term troubles in balance and personal mobility.

He said Mullins was physically incapable of performing the acts as alleged by an 11-year-old girl, who was in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

Deputy Otoe County Attorney John Palmtag told the jury that “disability is a weak defense.”

Palmtag: “The claim that he was not able of performing these ‘not rigorous’ sex acts, I think holds no water. The jury should find it holds no water.”

At trial, the prosecution showed a two-hour video of the girl’s interview at the Child Advocacy Center. Palmtag said the girl was truthful in the video, in a deposition with lawyers and on the stand during trial.

Palmtag: “There’s not anyone in her extended family that would tell her to do this stuff, would sit down with her and concoct this incredibly intricate story to take down Larry Mullins. There’s just no reason. There’s no motive.”

Palmtag also offered an explanation for why the girl did not come forward earlier, over the four-year period. She did not alert her parents until March of last year, when she said Mullins hit her after she resisted his attempt to put his hand under her shirt.

Pamtag: “She was confused, she was scared. Larry Mullins was telling her she would be hurt. He was telling her that she would lose her family. He was telling her not tell anyone. He’s a trusted adult.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Volunteer Jim Arnold Accused of Child Molestation

jim arnold

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Jim Arnold, a youth ministry volunteer at Big Valley Grace Community Church in Modesto, California, stands accused of child molestation. The Modesto Bee reports:

Jim Patrick Arnold, 40, is accused of the continuous sexual abuse of a family member.

Arnold was a part-time volunteer youth ministry worker at Big Valley Grace Community Church. He has not been charged with any crimes associated with a child outside his family.

A week after Arnold’s Feb. 19 arrest, Senior Pastor Rick Countryman sent a letter to the parents of children in grades 5 through 12 saying Arnold had been removed from the ministry and is no longer allowed on the Big Valley Grace campus.

“We perform interviews and background checks on all employees and volunteers who work with children and youth …” the letter says. “Jim Arnold passed all background checks without report of any past indiscretions.”

The letter goes on to say the allegations occurred off campus with a relative, not with a Big Valley Grace student, but asks anyone with information about “inappropriate behavior … on the part of Jim Arnold” to first notify the Modesto Police Department, then Executive Pastor Bobby Kirchner.

In an email to The Bee Tuesday, Kirchner said he could not say in what capacity Arnold worked with children, if he ever accompanied them on any overnight trips, how long he’d been volunteering there and if he only worked with children in grades 5 through 12.

“I hope you can appreciate that Big Valley Grace cannot and will not comment further on an ongoing criminal case,” he said.

The alleged abuse by Arnold occurred on three different occasions between March 2018 and February 2019, according to a criminal complaint. He has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, possession of an image of a minor engaged in sexual conduct, exploitation of a minor and using a concealed camera to secretly videotape another person.

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In an email to The Bee Wednesday Reilly [Arnold’s attorney]  said, “Mr. Arnold not only promptly admitted culpability and accepted responsibility for his actions, he did so under circumstances in which he was suicidal. Law enforcement contact resulted entirely from Mr. Arnold’s own regret and shame, rather than as a result of a complaint by the minor.”

Judge Shawn Bessey kept Arnold’s bail at $100,000 but added a condition to his release that he have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, in addition to the terms of a restraining order granted to his wife.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor William Oswald Accused of Sex Crimes

william oswald

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

William Oswald, the former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in West Columbia, South Carolina, stands accused of sexually assaulting two minors numerous times over the space of several years. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

WBTV-3 reports:

A former pastor of Dunn’s Chapel Church in South Congaree is charged with 12 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child, after two victims came forward last week.

William Oswald, 56, was denied bond on Wednesday morning and remains jailed at the Lexington County Detention Center ahead of his next court appearance in May.

According to investigators, two victims allege the sexual abuse took place between 1996 and 2001 at Dunn’s Chapel Church, where Oswald was a pastor. According to the incident report, the victims described in graphic detail the alleged sexual assaults, each stating they were assaulted more than a one hundred times during the time period. The victims said the alleged abuse began when they were around the age of eight and continued until their early teens.

he two victims were inside the courtroom Wednesday morning during Oswald’s bond hearing. One said she feels empowered by stepping forward and reporting the alleged abuse.
“I just finally feel safe because he’s not going to be able to touch me again or get out,” she said. “Over the years he just always manipulates the situation so no matter how many boundaries you try to put up he ends up getting back in and he can’t do that anymore, I hope.”
The victim said she knows of other victims that have yet to come forward. South Congaree Police said there are likely other victims in different jurisdictions.

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“I know of several already, some that are still too afraid to speak,” she said.

She said she wanted to speak in hopes of encouraging other victims to step forward.

“There’s hope and it’s okay to speak and even if it takes you a while and years to feel safe and be separated enough it’s okay to speak, you can feel safe again,” she said.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick Faces New Trial, Out on Bond

richard mick

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

In 2016, Richard Mick, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Sandusky, Ohio was convicted of child rape and sentenced to life in prison. I previously wrote about Mick’s trial here. In 2018, an Ohio appeals court overturned Mick’s conviction. The Sandusky Register reported at the time:

An Ohio appeals court said a Sandusky pastor previously sentenced to life in prison for child rape must receive a new trial.

Richard Mick, 56, who was sentenced in Erie County Common Pleas Court in 2016, had his conviction overturned Friday by the Sixth District Court of Appeals. A jury originally found Mick guilty of four felony charges of rape and gross sexual imposition.

Mick, formerly a pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church, appealed his conviction after his trial was notably marked by his then-attorney K. Ronald Bailey refusing to participate in the trial.

Bailey, in 2016, argued the trial should have been delayed, and Judge Roger Binette held him in contempt of court after Bailey told Binette he was “not participating” in the trial. Bailey eventually served a 30-day sentence in the Erie County jail for the contempt charge.

Bailey did not respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

Mick’s appeal, filed by his new Cleveland-based attorney, Russell Bensing, alleged Bailey’s refusal to participate in the trial violated his right to effective counsel, according to the appeal.

The appeals court agreed with Mick, according to a court opinion written by Judge Thomas Osowik.

“Although Mick could have waived his constitutional right to counsel, the record shows he did not,” Osowik said.

There are not any court dates set following the overturned conviction Friday.

Mick has another pending court case in Erie County Common Pleas Court, where he faces more counts of gross sexual imposition, according to court records. He has a pretrial in that case set for May 16.

Mick’s new trial is scheduled for June 3. Last week, Mick posted an $80,000 bond and was released from jail.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Anthony Haynes on Trial for Child Sex Trafficking

anthony haynes

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Previous posts about Cordell Jenkins, Anthony Haynes, and Kenneth Butler: Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Cordell Jenkins Accused of Sex Trafficking Children, Black Collar Crime: Another Toledo Evangelical Pastor, Kenneth Butler, Accused of Sex Trafficking, Black Collar Crime: Three Toledo, Ohio Evangelical Pastors Indicted on Child Sex Trafficking Charges, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Kenneth Butler Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking Charges, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Cordell Jenkins Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking, Black Collar Crime: Wife and Stepdaughter of Pastor Anthony Haynes Accused of Kidnapping Victim

In late 2017, Evangelical pastors Cordell Jenkins, Anthony Haynes, and Kenneth Butler were indicted on charges of conspiracy to sex traffic children. The indicted men were affiliated with Abundant Life Ministries and Greater Life Christian Center, both in Toledo, Ohio.

Since then, Jenkins and Butler pleaded guilty. Haynes, on the other hand, decided to roll the dice and take his case to trial. The Star Tribune reports:

A minister who promised a woman he’d take care of her daughter began having sex with the teenager daily and later encouraged two other pastors to have sex with her as well, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Anthony Haynes could face up to life in prison if he’s convicted of child sex trafficking and other charges. The two other Toledo-area pastors charged in the investigation have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors said during the opening of Haynes’ trial that he first had sex with the girl when she was 14. They said the evidence against him includes text messages, photos, voice mails and DNA evidence from his church where the girl said they often had sex.

Haynes’ attorney told jurors that the allegations are shocking, but there’s not enough evidence to prove the trafficking and conspiracy charges he faces.

Attorney Pete Wagner also said Haynes may have had a questionable relationship with the girl, but he didn’t coordinate or take part in trafficking her to the other ministers. He also said there was no paying for sex.

Prosecutors say the girl had a difficult childhood and was sexually abused by a relative.

Haynes pledged in front of his congregation to protect her and serve as a father figure, but he began grooming her for sex when she turned 14 and first forced her to perform sex acts in front of him, said Michael Freeman, an assistant U.S. attorney.

They had sex day after day, often at a motel or his church, the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, and Haynes would give her cash, Freeman said.

After about a year, Haynes introduced her to Kenneth Butler, another pastor, and he also began having sex with her, Freeman said.

Sometimes, the two men joked about the arrangement, prosecutors said. One text shown in court that prosecutors say was sent by Butler to the girl said: “You better be nice and naked when I get there.”

Prosecutors said the girl next met Cordell Jenkins, a minister who founded his own church in Toledo and built a large following until it closed after his arrest.

The FBI has said in court documents that Jenkins had sex with two girls at his home, church office and a motel and often recorded the acts with his phone.

Haynes, prosecutors said, encouraged the relationship with Jenkins.

Today, Haynes took the stand. The Toledo Blade reports:

Anthony Haynes sobbed as he took the stand in federal court Wednesday, claiming he was manipulated by a teenage girl and he took the fall for sexual relationships between her and two other pastors.

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Federal prosecutors rested Wednesday morning and the case was turned over to Mr. Haynes’ defense attorneys, Peter Wagner and John Thebes, calling Mr. Haynes to the stand — where he denied having a sexual relationship with the girl or encouraging her to have sex with the other pastors.

Mr. Haynes testified Wednesday that the girl threatened the pastor, saying she would tell people he was molesting her if she did not get things — like a cell phone.

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dditionally, he said he knew the girl was having sexual relations with Butler and Jenkins, and he lied to federal investigators because he “was covering up for people,” he said. He previously told investigators that he had sexual relations with the teenage girl, took nude photos of her, and sent nude photos of her — but that was a false statement, he testified on Wednesday.

“I was tired. People don’t know what I was dealing with. Outside looking in, I look like the biggest monster,” Mr. Haynes said.

“I’m not no freak, I’m not a pervert. I’m an innocent family man with flaws and issues and I’m trying to get back to my family and children,” he added before breaking down into tears.

Mr. Haynes testified he eventually closed his church because the “secrets” of Jenkins and Butler were becoming too much. He said he never reported the incident to police.

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Federal prosecutor Alisa Sterling asked Mr. Haynes how his and Butler’s sperm both got onto a small carpet sample. Mr. Haynes said he and his wife had sexual relations at the church and Butler also had a key to the building.

Ms. Sterling also showed Mr. Haynes a series of text messages between him and the girl, including ones referencing them having sex at the church and her being sore following the act.

He could not recall sending her sexually explicit photos and said some messages were taken out of context. He also claimed his social media account was hacked when a conversation between the two consisted of a conversation about a threesome.

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Earlier this week, prosecutors called a series of FBI agents involved in the case; the victim’s school guidance counselor; a family friend who purchased her an iPhone for her 17th birthday; Mr. Haynes’ co-defendant, Kenneth Butler; and the victim.

The now 19-year-old woman in the case outlined a lengthy history with the pastors beginning with Mr. Haynes when she was 14, she said Tuesday. She moved in with the Haynes family in 2014, she testified.

The woman — who provided poised and direct answers during questioning — said Mr. Haynes began having sex with her at his church when she was a teenager before later introducing her to pastors Kenneth Butler and Cordell Jenkins, encouraging her to engage in sex acts with them.