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Last year, three Toledo, Ohio Evangelical pastors were arrested and charged with child sex trafficking. Cordell Jenkins, pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, Anthony Haynes, pastor of Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, and Kenneth Butler, pastor of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Detroit, all face federal charges that could land them in prison for life. Yesterday, Butler pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seventeen and a half years in prison. It is expected that Haynes and Jenkins will also plead guilty.
A federal grand jury today handed down an eleven count indictment charging Evangelical pastors Cordell Jenkins, Anthony Haynes, and Kenneth Butler with conspiracy to sex traffic children. The indicted men are affiliated with Abundant Life Ministries and Greater Life Christian Center, both inToledo, Ohio
Jennifer Feehan, a reporter for the Toledo Blade, writes:
Shackled and dressed in different colored jumpsuits, three Toledo pastors appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court to answer accusations they acted together to entice underage girls to engage in sex for money.
The Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 47, the Rev. Anthony Haynes, 38, and the Rev. Kenneth Butler, 37, each were named in an 11-count superceding indictment handed up Tuesday by a federal grand jury charging them with conspiracy to sex traffic children. All three of them pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Michael Freeman, an assistant U.S. Attorney, told the court that if the men are convicted, prosecutors would recommend sentences of life in prison.
“These three men violated the trust of these children and the communities they purported to serve,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said in a news release. “We are grateful for the courage of the victims and the dedication of our law enforcement personnel in bringing these men to justice.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a girl who was just 14 when the conspiracy began in 2014 was sexually assaulted by all three men. Some of the sex acts are believed to have taken place at Greater Life Christian Center where Mr. Haynes was pastor.
Between 2014 and 2017, Mr. Haynes groomed and exploited the girl, used his cell phone to record the sexual assaults, routinely gave her money afterward, and told her not to tell anyone because it could ruin his family and his church, prosecutors say.
Mr. Haynes also is accused of introducing the teen to other men, including Mr. Jenkins, for sexual activity and for sharing pornographic photographs and videos.
Prosecutors allege that between December, 2016 and March, 2017, Mr. Jenkins sexually exploited the girl at his West Toledo home on Barrington Drive, at his office at Abundant Life Ministries where he was the pastor, and at a motel in Toledo. Prosecutors said he paid her for sex — usually between $100 and $300 — referring to the payment as “hush money.” Like Mr. Haynes, he’s accused of recording some of the interactions with his cell phone.
Mr. Jenkins is accused of paying for sex acts with a second underage girl In March.
Mr. Butler is charged with trafficking a third underage girl between 2015 and March, 2017. According to court documents, the girl told investigators she met Mr. Butler at Mr. Haynes’ church when she was 15 and he would give her rides to his church in the Detroit area.
The girl said she had sex with Mr. Butler in his car twice and he gave her money once. He later reportedly told her to lie to the FBI if she was questioned about him.
Judge Zouhary asked what was new or different in the superceding indictment that was not laid out in the original indictment.
Mr. Freeman said the superceding indictment adds Mr. Butler as a defendant and, for the first time, alleges that beginning in June, 2014 the three men “conspired and agreed with each other to knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, patronize, and solicit” a girl who was 14 years old at the time as well as other minors to engage in paid sex acts.
Judge Zouhary scheduled a Jan. 8 status hearing for all three co-defendants, who are to remain in custody.
Here is a link to an incoherent video apology by Kenneth Butler to his church/fans/ministerial colleagues. It would be a hoot if Butler’s crimes weren’t so serious. Let this video be proof positive of how religion can corrupt a man’s mind and lead him into all sorts of delusions. Is it just me, or does Butler sound high? (This is a live Facebook video, so the names he mentions are likely people who are logging on to watch.)
Earlier this year, Toledo Evangelical pastors Cordell Jenkins and Anthony Haynes were accused of “knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, and transporting people they knew were younger than 18 years old to engage in commercial sex acts.” You can read about their arrests here. Another Evangelical pastor, Kenneth Butler, has been arrested and charged with sex trafficking. Butler’s case is connected to Jenkins’ and Haynes’ cases. Butler is the pastor of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Toledo, Ohio.
A Toledo pastor arrested last night for sex trafficking waived his preliminary hearing in court Thursday.
Kenneth Howard Butler, 37, is in custody of the FBI following his arrest. He will have a detention hearing October 12.
Butler is a pastor at Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center on Reynolds Road.
Butler’s arrest comes months after the arrest of two other local pastors, Cordell Jenkins and Anthony Haynes, who were also charged with sex crimes. Authorities confirm all three cases are connected.
According to federal court documents, a 15-year-old girl says she met Butler at Haynes church in Toledo. The girl says Butler talked the girl in the church parking lot, expressing interest in having sex with her. Court documents show another church member approached the pair, interrupting the conversation.
The girl says Butler drove her to work and to Butler’s church in Detroit, Mich. At the age of 16, the girl says Butler had sex with her. She says Butler placed money in the center console of his car for her.
Court documents explain that Haynes’ wife called Butler and recorded a conversation in which he admitted to having sex with the underage girl, saying he thought she was “close to” the age of 18. He also allegedly admitted to giving her money afterward. The documents also say Butler instructed the teenage girl to lie if questioned by the FBI.
Court documents further say Butler admitted to having sex with the minor girl. The document also shows Butler admitted to knowing the girl was a minor and giving her money on multiple occasions. He denied that the money was in exchange for sex.