Tag Archive: Prostitution

Do You Want a Date, Hon?

naiveAfter my freshman year of classes at Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, I returned home to my mother’s palatial palace — also known as a trailer — on U.S. Hwy. 6, five miles southwest of Bryan, Ohio. I had come home to work, hoping to earn enough money to pay for my next year of college. I accepted a first shift machine operator position at Holabird Manufacturing, a manufacturer of cheap furniture — cheap as in trailer show furniture. Holabird would close its doors and file for bankruptcy in 1983. I also worked a second shift job at Bard Manufacturing, a maker of HVAC units. I was attending First Baptist Church in Bryan at the time. One of the church’s deacons was a manager for Bard. He graciously arranged for Bard to hire me for the summer.

I was twenty years old in the summer of 1977, strong, fit, and full of energy. Had I not been, I would never have been able to work eighty hours a week: 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Holabird and 4:00 PM to midnight at Bard. I didn’t catch up on sleep on the weekends either. Oh no, weekends were for running around with friends, going to one of the local lakes, or trekking to Newark to visit Polly for the day. That’s right, for the day. Polly’s mom did not like me and treated me like a rash she hoped would go away. I would get up early on Saturday, drive three hours to Newark, spend as much time as I could with Polly, and turn around and drive three hours back to Bryan. (Under no circumstances would Polly’s mom let me spend the night.) On more than one occasion, I was so exhausted that I pulled off along the road and slept for several hours. The things we’ll do for love, right?

I followed the aforementioned schedule for twelve weeks. Come late August, it was time for me to return to Midwestern to begin my sophomore year. I packed my belongings into my car and headed in the general direction of Pontiac, Michigan. As I neared Toledo, I decided to take U.S. Route 23 to Pontiac. Ninety minutes into my drive, I exited the highway into a rest stop. I needed to stretch my legs and use the restroom. As I walked towards the restroom, a 30-ish large-breasted woman wearing revealing clothing came up to me and said, Do you want a date, Hon? Confused, I replied, excuse me? The woman repeated, Do you want a date? I smiled and said to her, no thanks, I already have a girlfriend. And with that, I continued walking to the restroom. As I walked back to my car, I saw the woman walking with a man towards a parked delivery van.

almost twelve kenneth taylor

I was quite naïve when it came to matters of sex. My sex education consisted of reading an Evangelical book titled Almost Twelve and six years of locker room sex ed. I knew the fundamentals, but as far a broader understanding of human sexuality and its darker, seamier side, I knew nothing. And as ignorant as I was, my fiancée was even worse. One warm day in the spring of 1977, Polly was in the college parking lot, sitting in her car — a 1972 AMC Hornet. Purchased new in 1972 by Polly’s father after the family car broke down in California, by 1976 the car was already worn out, a piece of junk. This car is a story unto itself, one that I will tell another day. For now, picture sweet, naïve Polly sitting in her car, AM radio blaring, singing along with Starland Vocal Band’s hit Afternoon Delight. I came up to the car window and asked what she was listening to. She replied, Afternoon Delight. I said, you know that song is about having sex! Polly replied, IT IS NOT! The song is about having fun in the afternoon. Slightly less naïve Bruce took the time to educate sheltered Polly about exactly what it was they were having fun doing in the afternoon. This lesson would pay dividends after we married and we experienced a bit of afternoon delight ourselves.

Video Link

After I returned to college, I told my roommate about what the woman had asked me at the rest stop. She asked me if I wanted to have a date! Why I didn’t even know her. Why would she want me to go on a date? I already have a girlfriend. My room-mate laughed and said, she was a prostitute and was asking you if you wanted to have sex with her. Really? I relied. Yes, really. I would receive many more such lessons over the next year. These are stories left for another day.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Dan Syrcle Arrested on Prostitution Charges

dan syrcle

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.

Dan Syrcle, pastor of First Salem Church in Wichita, Kansas,  was arrested yesterday on “suspicion of purchasing sexual relations and official misconduct.”
The Wichita Eagle reports:

A volunteer chaplain for the Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office was arrested during a prostitution investigation.

Daniel Lee Syrcle, 53, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of purchasing sexual relations and official misconduct, police Deputy Chief Jose Salcido and sheriff’s Col. Greg Pollock said in a prepared statement on Friday.

Syrcle has been terminated from both assignments, the statement said. He was an unpaid, volunteer chaplain.

The Wichita police VICE section was conducting a prostitution investigation when it discovered Syrcle’s involvement, the statement said.

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Black Collar Crime: Rabbi Aryeh Goodman Accused of Having Sex with a 17-Year-Old Prostitute

rabbi aryeh goodman

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.

Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, who runs a Jewish community center out of his home, was arrested last month on allegations he engaged in child prostitution.

The New York Post reports:

A New Jersey rabbi has been busted alongside two others on charges of human trafficking and child prostitution, according to authorities.

Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 35, was one of some 30 men who allegedly paid to have sex with a 17-year-old girl in an East Brunswick hotel, says the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Bronx residents Gabriella Colon, 18, and Richard Ortiz, 23, were also arrested for selling the teen’s services to the bevy of creeps from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2, 2018.

Goodman, who runs a Jewish community center out of his East Brunswick home, was slapped with one count of engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Though he bills the center as part of Chabad, prosecutors and a rep said Goodman is in no way affiliated with the organization.

He turned himself in on Feb. 6, prosecutors said.

Colon and Ortiz were hit with various charges, including human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking, promoting prostitution of a child, conspiracy to promote prostitution of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal restraint.

The duo were also charged with the manufacturing, distribution of and possession of child pornography.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ed Espinosa Arrested in Prostitution Sting

ed espinosa

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.

Ed Espinosa, the community outreach pastor at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, was arrested in December during a McLennan County Sheriff’s Office prostitution sting.

ABC-25 reports:

The Antioch Communications Director said in a press release that a former senior Antioch pastor was arrested Thursday for patronizing an illicit massage parlor.

Ed Espinosa was arrested by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.

Espinosa was the former Community Outreach Pastor at Antioch and local business owner.

Espinosa was immediately suspended from his position at Antioch on Dec. 7, 2017, after disclosing to his supervisor, and turned in his resignation on Dec. 19, 2017.

The women working at the massage parlors were victims of human trafficking.

They were made to live and work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the massage parlors, were kept under constant surveillance, and were made to provide commercial sex for customers.

Espinosa was on staff with Antioch’s Community Outreach Ministry for eight years.

Throughout his employment at Antioch, Espinosa passed multiple routine background checks and was never accused of misconduct toward women.

“Ed’s conduct was not only inappropriate but directly against our values and policy as a church and as the people of God. We continue to be committed to helping heal whatever is broken, whether on behalf of the victim or the victimizer, we believe restoration is still possible through Jesus Christ,” said Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor of Antioch Community Church.

UnBound, the anti-human trafficking ministry of Antioch, was involved in the sting of the illicit massage parlors where this crime occurred, providing assistance to the victims involved.

“While we are grieved for the pain of the Espinosa family and all the families impacted by this crime, we also know the pain and abuse that has been suffered by the victims involved. We will not tolerate this type of behavior at Antioch Community Church or in McLennan County,” said Susan Peters.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Daniel Williams Pleads Guilty on Loitering Charge

busted

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.

Daniel Williams, pastor of Arrowbrook Baptist Church in Xenia, Ohio, was arrested earlier this year on a prostitution related charge. In August, Williams pleaded guilty to loitering.

WHIO reports:

A Xenia pastor arrested in Dayton was found guilty earlier this year for loitering to engage in solicitation, according to court records.

Daniel P. Williams, 40, of Huber Heights, was found guilty in late August after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of loitering, according to Dayton Municipal Court.

Williams’ employer is listed as Arrowbrook Baptist Church in Xenia in both court record and the police report. The church’s website also lists Williams as their pastor.

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Williams was originally charged with a second count of loitering and a third count of soliciting, both of which were withdrawn upon his guilty plea, according to Dayton Municipal Court.

The violation happened at around noon Aug. 17 in the 3400 block of East Third Street in Dayton, according to Dayton police.

Williams was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with 60 days being suspended. He will be on probation for one year, according to court records.

….

Arrowbrook Baptist is a Southern Baptist church affiliated with the Founders Ministries and 9Marks — both Calvinistic ministries. Williams’ church bio states:

Pastor Dan has served Arrowbrook as the Pastor of Preaching and Teaching since May 2001. He graduated from Wright State University with a Degree in Mass Communication and a Minor in Religious Studies. He is married to his wife,****, and together they live in Huber Heights with their daughter ****. Pastor Dan has a desire to build up the people of God through the preaching of God’s Word and a deep love for the local church, knowing that it was for the church that Jesus Christ died.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Elder James Stangle II Charged with Soliciting a Prostitute

james stangle ii

James Stangle II, lead elder at New Life Assembly of God (New Life Church)  in Circleville, Ohio was arrested Wednesday and charged with soliciting a prostitute.

ABC-6 reports:

A lead elder for New Life Church was arrested by police and charged with soliciting a prostitute.

Plain clothes officers were working a busy part of the city when they busted James Stangle II in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon. Stangle was later released from the PIckaway County Jail.

Nobody answered the door at the Stangle family home. Neighbors said they were shocked that Stangle was arrested. “They have been pretty private and to themselves other than I guess probably church people coming over to see them,” said Kenny Hunt who lives across the street.

Nobody of New Life Church would talk on camera about the arrest. But the lead pastor Tim McGinnis said the following statement:

My name is Tim McGinnis, lead pastor of New Life Church. The church is aware of the alleged situation, and will fully cooperate with authorities. There is no other evidence except for information that is available to the general public to make any further comments regarding the alleged charge. We fully support the judicial process and believe truth prevails. The alleged charge did not take place on church grounds and was not associated with any church activity. We support Jim, his family and everybody involved with our prayers. New Life will continue as a growing fellowship to promote the love of Jesus to our hurting community.
Hunt said he thinks people of faith should be held to a higher standard.

“I have nothing for ministers. He is just another man that had an urge and decided to try to get it satisfied other than at home,” said Hunt.

 

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Ermonte Moliere Arrested During Prostitution Sting

ermonte moliere

Ermonte Moliere, pastor of First Haitian Community Church in Houston,Texas, was arrested during a ten-day sting at a massage-parlor-turned-brothel.

The Beaumont Enterprise reports:

The Houston Police Department (HPD) arrested at least 140 men in a 10-day sting at a massage-parlor-turned-brothel on Westheimer.

Among the men arrested was Emonte Moliere, whom the First Haitian Community Church lists as the senior pastor.

Public records and the arrest complaint obtained by Chron.com match the same address for Moliere and his wife.

The records also show that other than a minor traffic infraction, Moliere has no prior criminal history.

Moliere’s church bio states:

Ermonte Moliere was born on October 19, 1976, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His father Raoul Moliere and mother Marie Fanfan Mercile together conceived five children. Pastor Ermonte Moliere has served diligently in ministry since his childhood. He was baptized at the age of 18 and two years later, he enrolled as a Sunday school teacher at “Mission de l’Eglise Evangelique Communautaire de Santo”. Empowered with God’s anointing, he helped people in his community to serve God and experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power through redemption.

In 1997 Pastor Moliere graduated from high school at Lycée Alexandre Pétion and continued his studies in the sciences of Agronomy where he earned a license in management of natural resources in 2003 from “Université Caraibe”. 2 years later Pastor Ermonte Moliere married *****, and they now share joy in their two lovely daughters: ***** and **** and son ****.

Pastor Moliere graduated from the Theological School of Boulvard on October 15, 2004 located in Tabarre, Port-au-Prince, Haiti where he studied Theology. After working for 5 years for the “Conseil National de Financement Populaire, (CNFP)” he travelled to Fort Myers, Florida, in January 2010 to rejoined his wife. Once arrived in Fort Myers, Florida he started preaching the Word of God to his people. In late 2010, with Cenel Benel, he founded the church “Riocher de Delivrance” at Fort Myers, Florida.

Pastor Ermonte Moliere is committed to winning souls for Jesus-Christ and uses preaching, and formation to provide God’s Word to help people understand how important it is to have Christ in their life. His ministry is based in the scriptures “God has saved us through his only Son Jesus-Christ who accepted to give his life on the cross for our sins”, this is how we know what love is when Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”, John 10:11.

While he was collaborating and serving people, the people at the Church of Rock deliverance, He had a vision of God, in which God asked him to go to Houston, Texas to work in a ministry he reserved for him. Pastor Ermonte Moliere and his family accepted to travel to Houston, Texas where they did not have any family members, but God has planned everything because he gave the vison. When God gives vision, he provides means for it.

After 3 years of ministry in different churches in Houston, Texas God guided Pastor Moliere through the ministry he has prepared for him. He is now the Senior Pastor of First Haitian Community Church, an assembly where the people are dedicated to serve God and help spread his words according to Mark 16.15-16. Pastor Moliere’s emphasis on the need for spiritual growth and development through the teaching of God’s Word, has resulted in dramatically increased attendance at Bible Study and Sunday School. In addition, the Church School curriculum has been expanded to accommodate the participation of all age groups of the Church.

You can read more about this story here and here.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Klint Bitter Charged With Sexual Assault of a Child


Klint Bitter, pastor of kids and student ministry at Christ Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska, was charged today with first-degree sexual assault of a child.

WOWT-6 reports:

A former youth pastor at a west Omaha church is now in jail, accused of having sex with a 15-year old prostitute.

Klint Bitter turned himself in at the Sarpy County Jail Tuesday. He’s charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child. The 34-year-old allegedly answered an online ad posted by a sex trafficking suspect in Bellevue.

Bitter was a pastor of kids and student ministry at Christ Community Church near 108th and Harney. Church officials said Bitter has been fired from that position.

KETV-7 adds:

Sarpy County authorities say Klint Andrew Bitter, 34, is held without bond on one felony count of sexual assault.

A criminal complaint says the victim is 15-year old girl and that Bitter assaulted her in the parking lot of an abandoned supermarket in Bellevue on February 27th, 2017.

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KETV NewsWatch 7 has learned Bitter’s arrest is part of a wider investigation into human trafficking. In March 2017, a Bellevue West High School student was charged with first-degree sexual assault and human trafficking based on an investigation that began on February 27th.

The Omaha World Herald reports:

A 34-year-old former youth pastor will stand trial in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.

Klint Bitter appeared in Sarpy County Court on Wednesday morning and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Judge Robert Wester set Bitter’s bail at $1 million and ordered Bitter not to have contact with anyone 18 or younger.

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Sarpy County Deputy Attorney Phil Kleine told the judge Bitter contacted DeArch Stubblefield online to set up a meeting with the girl. In asking for a high bail, Kleine compared Bitter’s case to co-defendants Stubblefield and Jason Gibson.

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Thomas Petersen, Bitter’s attorney, asked for a $150,000 bail and told the judge Bitter saw the ad on Craigslist and then emailed to ask if the girl was 18.

Update

Today, October 20, 2017,  the Bellvue Leader reports that Bitter has been released from jail after posting ten-percent of his $1 million bond:

Bitter, 34, of Omaha, appeared in Sarpy County Court on Wednesday morning and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Judge Robert Wester set Bitter’s bail at $1 million and ordered Bitter not to have contact with anyone 18 years or younger. He was released later Wednesday after posting 10 percent of that bail, $100,000.

Sarpy County Deputy Attorney Phil Kleine told the judge that Bitter contacted DeArch Stubblefield, then 18, to set up a meeting with the girl. Bitter’s attorney said he was responding to a Craigslist ad. A criminal complaint said the offense took place near the intersection of Fort Crook and Childs Roads on Feb. 27.

That same day, Bellevue police said they began an investigation into a report of possible human trafficking, which led to the March arrest of Stubblefield.

In asking for a high bail, Kleine compared Bitter’s case to co-defendants Stubblefield and Jason Gibson, who was charged March 9 with the same offense as Bitter. Stubblefield was initially held on no bail and Gibson was held on $2 million bail.

Gibson, 41, later pleaded no contest to attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child. He will be sentenced next month and faces up to 50 years in prison.

And on Wednesday, Stubblefield pleaded guilty to attempted human trafficking, attempted aiding and abetting first-degree sexual assault of a child, and possession of child pornography. Prosecutors dropped an additional charge of child abuse. He faces a maximum of 72 years when sentenced in December.

Thomas Petersen, Bitter’s attorney, asked Wednesday for a $150,000 bail amount. He told the judge that Bitter emailed after seeing the Craigslist ad to ask if the girl was 18.

n asking for a lower bail amount, Petersen also said his client is married with children, owns a home, is college educated and until recently was employed as a pastor.
Mark Ashton, lead pastor at Christ Community Church, said Bitter worked for the church for seven years and was in charge of the church’s kids and student ministries.

….

Update

Bitter’s co-defendant, Jason Gibson, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child and received a six-month jail sentence. Gibson must also serve five years probation and register as a sex offender.

Black Collar Crime: Methodist Pastor Jim Irwin Arrested on Drug and Prostitution Charges

pastor jim irwin

Jim Irwin, a United Methodist pastor and the director of Care and Share Ministries in Plymouth, Indiana, was arrested and charged with various drug and prostitution crimes.

WNDU-16 reports:

A Michiana pastor was arrested Wednesday after a prostitution sting.

Police arrested 68-year-old Jim Irwin at his Plymouth home on Charles Street.

Court documents reveal that 3 informants helped police put the Plymouth pastor in jail. He’s facing 5 separate charges, 3 of which are felonies.

Dealing in Schedule I, II, or III controlled substances, Level 6 felony; Dealing a substance represented to be controlled substances, Level 6 felony;  Promoting Prostitution, Level 5 felony; Patronizing a Prostitute, Class A misdemeanor; and Patronizing a Prostitute, Class A misdemeanor.

According to the affidavit for probable cause:

On 8/3/2017 Informant A asked Irwin “what do I have to do to get a room?” Irwin responds “just lay there in front of me naked.”

On 8/9/2017 Informant B was given $50 from Irwin to give to an undercover officer for a controlled substance. He said “That’s your $50, it’s not mine, you’re buying, I know nothing about it.”

On 8/17/17 Informant C was given “two white oval pills later identified as a schedule II narcotic drug as a payment for a sexual act to occur the following week.”

Professional acquaintances were shocked to hear about this arrest happening to a man they believed was a highly respected individual.

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Sources tell NewsCenter 16 that Irwin is the director of Care and Share Ministries in Marshall County. The non-profit was started in 2004 to help provide emergency shelter to families when they are in crisis.

As of Thursday night, a sign reading ‘Care and Share office is closed due to illness’ is taped to the door of the Marshall County Care and Share. The organization is a client of United Way.

“It was shocking to learn the allegations,” said Jeff Houin, President of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Marshall County. Obviously our relationship is with Care and Share Marshall County Incorporated as our member agency, it’s not with any one individual.”

Irwin was in jail as of 9:10 p.m. on Wednesday, with a $60,000 cash bond.

The probable cause affidavit refers to multiple encounters between Irwin and various cooperating sources.

The charges filed against Irwin, now public record, are attached to this article.

According to a LinkedIn in Irwin’s name, he was also a pastor at Maple Grove United Methodist Church. NewsCenter16 contacted the Northern Indiana Superintendent who said Irwin was not a pastor at the South Bend church, but his wife was until just over a year ago.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Eddie Hilburn Arrested on a Prostitution Charge

eddie hilburn

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.

Eddie Hilburn, an associate pastor for The Woodlands First Baptist Church in The Woodlands, Texas, was arrested yesterday on a prostitution charge.

Click 2 Houston reports:

A pastor in The Woodlands was arrested on a prostitution-related charge.

Eddie Hilburn, who is an Associate Pastor at The Woodlands First Baptist Church, is charged with prostitution.

Hilburn, 52, was arrested on Wednesday.

The church released a statement that read, “The Woodlands First Baptist Church is still gathering information regarding our staff member Eddie Hilburn. We can assure you that a statement will be issued once all facts are known, and administration has had an opportunity to review them. We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and we continue to look to God for guidance.”

….

ABC-13 added:

Hilburn appeared in court Thursday morning just hours after he had been arrested in a hotel.

Charging documents allege Hilburn paid an undercover Harris County Sheriff’s deputy $80 for sexual activities. Soon after the alleged money exchange, deputies moved in to arrest him.

According to Hilburn’s bio page:

Eddie began serving at The Woodlands First in July of 2012. He has served as Senior Pastor of churches in Texas, has planted a church in Wisconsin, and has served as student pastor.

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In addition to graduating from East Texas Baptist University, Eddie also earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

At the Woodlands First, Eddie coaches other staff members as they live out their calling, leads the reFresh Wednesday night event, and occasionally preaches on Sunday. Eddie feels like he wins when the other staff members win.

Update

On January 8, 2018, CBS-13 reported:

A pastor in The Woodlands who was arrested last summer on a charge of soliciting a prostitute pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of probation.

Eddie Hilburn, 53, was arrested at a hotel in July 2017 during a sting operation.
READ MORE: The Woodlands pastor charged with prostitution

According to charging documents, Hilburn paid an undercover Harris County Sheriff’s deputy $80 for sexual activities. Soon after money changed hands, deputies moved in and arrested him.

Hilburn served as an associate pastor at the Woodlands First Baptist Church. After he was released on bond from the Harris County Jail, Hilburn resigned from his post.

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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Principal Thomas Mullins Arrested in Prostitution Sting

thomas mullins

Thomas Mullins, principal at First Baptist School of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested Wednesday and charged with soliciting prostitution.

Paul Bowers, a reporter for The Post and Courier, writes:

The principal at First Baptist School of Charleston has resigned following his arrest on a charge of soliciting prostitution Wednesday afternoon.

Head of School Thomas Mullins, 67, of Murray Drive in Hanahan, had served as the leader of the private downtown school since 2002. He was previously a principal at North Charleston High.

“Our hearts are united in prayer for Mr. Mullins and his family,” First Baptist School leaders said in an email to parents. “The Board will be announcing plans for the future leadership of the school soon. In the meantime, the Board is unanimous in expressing appreciation to Tommy Mullins for his outstanding service to Charleston County Schools for most of his career and to First Baptist School since 2002.”

According to an arrest report from the North Charleston Police Department, an undercover officer was posing as a prostitute as part of a sting operation around 4:10 p.m. Wednesday and made contact with Mullins in his car near the intersection of Remount Road and Buskirk Avenue.

The report states that officers arrested Mullins on a prostitution charge when he solicited sex from the officer for money. Police later found whisky in an open cup in the car’s console and charged Mullins with an open container violation.

Reached by phone Friday, First Baptist Church Pastor Marshall Blalock said Mullins’ arrest came as a shock to school leaders and that he was “heartbroken” for Mullins.

The email to parents, which he co-signed with First Baptist School Board Chair D. Harrison Carter, credited Mullins with piloting dual-credit courses at the school, expanding enrollment, building a new James Island campus, promoting excellence in athletics and promoting racial diversity.

“First Baptist School is grateful for the many contributions Tommy Mullins has made to bless our students and their families over these past fifteen years,” the statement said. “Now as he takes the next steps in his life, the First Baptist family extends love and support to the Mullins family. We want to assure our alumni, parents, students, faculty, and church of the continuing strength of First Baptist School and our commitment to providing a Christian education in an environment which glorifies God.”

Black Collar Crime: Two Evangelical Pastors Arrested and Charged with Sex Trafficking

zubin parakh and jason kennedy

Jason Kennedy, children’s ministry pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee and Zubin Parakh, the creative pastor for Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, were arrested last year on charges on human trafficking.

Channel 8-Knoxville reports:

After a three-day investigation, nearly two dozen men were arrested on charges related to human trafficking, including Jason Evan Kennedy, a pastor of children’s ministry at Grace Baptist in Karns.

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Church leaders said Kennedy was hired two-and-a-half years ago. Church administrators got a background check on Kennedy and it turned up with no issues at the time. It did not indicate any previous problems. Church leaders believed Kennedy was a good fit because he listed a children’s pastor as a reference on his application. That pastor affirmed Kennedy had no issues in his background.

“We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them,” read the final statement in the church’s release.

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According to a police report, Kennedy responded to a Backpage.com ad via text message. The report says Kennedy was made aware that there would be two girls present, one was 15 years old. He negotiated $100 for a half hour of sex with both girls.

He was told to go to a gas station on Merchants Road for further instructions. Then he received instructions to go to a hotel room where the girls were.

The report says he stated he wanted to have sex with both girls he thought were inside. He put the agreed upon $100 on the counter. He removed his pants and then law enforcement took him into custody.

“Our work is not finished. We want to make sure there is no safe place to hide for criminals who would victimize the most vulnerable among us. We want anyone answering an ad for sex to think that a TBI agent and a Knoxville Police officer may be on the other end of that line,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn.

Kennedy is charged with human trafficking and patronizing prostitution.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn says another man, Zubin Parakh, responded to ads specifically indicating he was looking for underage girls to have sex with. Parakh was listed as a “Creative Pastor” for Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge.

Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and officers with the Knoxville Police Department worked together to arrest or cite 32 people on charges related to human trafficking. Twenty-three of those arrests were of men trying to buy sex from a prostitute.

“These are men from our community. They include an engineer, a volunteer firefighter, a landscaper, a student. These are people we work with and live with,” said Gwyn.

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During the investigation, undercover agents posted ads on Backpage.com, including an ad posing as an underage girl. Three-hundred people made contact in relation to those ads. More than two dozen people made contact in relation to the ad of the agents posed as an underage girl.

“What so many people in our community don’t quite understand is that human trafficking is a demand driven crime. And that demand comes from every single part of our society, including those parts that we’d all like to believe are not part of the problem,” said Trudell.