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Tag: Sex Trafficking

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Robert Shiflet Sentenced to 33 Months for Sex Crimes

clergy sex abuse

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 June 2020, Robert Shiflet, a youth pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas from 1997-2002, was arrested and charged with child sex trafficking. Shiflet also worked at Liberty Christian School in Argyle from 2008 to 2010.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reported at the time:

A former Denton youth pastor who pleaded guilty on charges related to child sex trafficking will be sentenced in federal court on May 19 [2021], court records show.

Robert Shiflet, a Denton man, was arrested in June on four charges related to child sex trafficking. Shiflet initially pleaded not guilty to the four charges but later changed his plea to guilty on two charges of transporting minors across state lines for sexual activity. The other two charges were dismissed.

The incidents date back from 1997 to 2002, which overlapped with his time at Denton Bible Church. Authorities said he worked as a youth pastor in Little Rock, Arkansas during the time of the incidents and then later moved to Denton. He also worked at Liberty Christian School in Argyle from 2008 to 2010.

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Shiflet changed his plea to guilty on Nov. 30. The penalty for transporting minors across state lines for sexual activity is up to 15 years in prison and up to three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, both parties agreed to a sentence of 27 to 33 months on each count to run concurrently, although the court can still determine the appropriate sentence. Shiflet would have to register as a sex offender upon release.

Yesterday, Shiflet was sentenced to 33 months in prison. The Denton Record-Chronicle reports:

 A former Denton youth pastor has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for crimes related to child sex trafficking from two decades ago.

Robert Shiflet, 51, was ordered Tuesday to serve 33 months in federal prison and must remain under federal supervision for the rest of his life once he’s released. Shiflet was indicted last year on charges relating to child sex trafficking and pleaded guilty in November 2020 to two of the charges.

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“So I’m going to accept the plea agreement but not in any way, shape or form having anything to do with you or anything anybody has said positive about you,” U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky said in court, reported by the Democrat-Gazette. “But for them because they deserve some justice, even if it’s not the justice they or society should get completely.”

The newspaper reported the judge accepted the deal to help victims get some justice. The three victims at court Tuesday told the judge they would testify if the case moved to a jury trial, but said they preferred the 33-month sentence rather than risk a jury acquitting Shiflet.

“Thirty-three months is not justice but reading between the lines I have to believe the government has some concerns about this case if it went to the jury,” Rudofsky said. “I have a feeling that although these women have all said they would testify — which makes them more brave than you are on a single day of your life — they don’t want to and they want this to be done and that they are scared if this case goes to trial you will get off completely.”

According to the Democrat-Gazette, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Bryant said the potential guideline sentence may have been miscalculated, leading to the range of 27 to 33 months in the plea agreement to be so far under the guidelines.

“Unfortunately, we were wrong, but that was the agreement we reached based upon our understanding at that time,” Bryant said.

Federal authorities said Shiflet worked as a youth pastor in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the case was filed, at the time of the incidents before moving to Denton.

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Shiflet was indicted on three counts of transporting minors across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity and one count of coercing a minor to cross state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity. He pleaded not guilty in June 2020 but later reversed his plea in November 2020 to guilty of two counts of transporting.

“This defendant took advantage of his position of trust as a mentor to young people and instead used his power to isolate and sexually abuse them,” U.S. Attorney Hiland said in a news release at the time of the guilty plea. “This predatory behavior is never acceptable, but it is particularly disturbing when the offender is a youth pastor. Our office will continue to aggressively pursue those who commit these deplorable crimes.”

According to authorities, Shiflet led a group of eighth graders in May 1997 on a camping trip to Arkansas where he was able to isolate a 15-year-old girl and sexually assault her, telling her not to tell anyone. Shiflet was 27 years old at the time and a youth pastor in Denton.

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 A 16-year-old girl reported that in 2002 that Shiflet, her youth pastor in Little Rock at the time, “engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with her.” One of the incidents was in the summer where he, 32 years old at the time, sexually assaulted her on a charter bus to Florida while on a youth group trip.

Yet another Evangelical pastor who escapes the full brunt of the law for his heinous crimes.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Black Collar Crime: Mormon Bishop David Moss Arrested on Sex Crime Charges

david moss

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.

David Moss, a Mormon bishop at the Mill Pond Ward in Lehi, Utah, was arrested last month in a human trafficking sting.

Fox-13 reports:

Detectives say 51-year-old David N. Moss, using the alias “Pilot”, contacted women he believed to be prostitutes on social media. Moss told the women he could manage them, which he claimed was different from being a pimp.

Officers say Moss told the women he could protect them, help them avoid police, and book their clients on their behalf. He told the women he had “run” other girls in the past.

Moss ultimately met with the two undercover officers, and during that meeting he showed them cash and said he was “not opposed to paying” for services, detectives allege. He also detailed ways to avoid police and at that point forcibly grabbed one woman’s hand and placed it on his genitals.

The document states Moss then unzipped his pants and exposed himself to the two undercover detectives.

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Detectives wrote that Moss’ current position as a religious leader and his prior work as a vice squad cop in St. George gave them reason to worry there may be more victims out there.

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Moss was booked into jail for the Lehi incident on charges of exploiting a prostitute, patronizing a prostitute, sexual battery, and two counts of lewdness.

Moss was a former police officer. He was in charge of the vice squad for the St. George Police Department. According to Fox-13:

Capt. Mike Giles, St. George Police, said Moss previously supervised their vice squad but resigned his position in their department seven years ago. He said Moss was involved in a consensual sexual relationship that had “an on-duty component” but was not in any way related to the current allegations Moss faces.

Giles said Moss resigned after his case went to a pre-determination meeting but before any recommendation for termination was made.

 

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Kenneth Butler Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking Charges

pastor kenneth butler

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.

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.

Previous articles: Black Collar Crime: Three Toledo, Ohio Evangelical Pastors Indicted on Child Sex Trafficking Charges, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Cordell Jenkins Accused of Sex Trafficking Children, and 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

sex trafficking jada pinkett smith

I previously wrote about this story, Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Cordell Jenkins Accused of Sex Trafficking Children and Black Collar Crime: Another Toledo Evangelical Pastor, Kenneth Butler, Accused of Sex Trafficking.

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 in Toledo, 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.

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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.

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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.)

Black Collar Crime: Another Toledo Evangelical Pastor, Kenneth Butler, Accused of Sex Trafficking

pastor kenneth butler

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.

ABC-13 reports:

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.

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Bruce Gerencser