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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toledo, Ohio pastor Cordell Jenkins was arrested today and accused of “knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, and transporting people they knew were younger than 18 years old to engage in commercial sex acts.” Jenkins, the pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, is also the husband of Lucas County Administrator Laura Lloyd-Jenkins. The Toledo Blade reports:
The Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 46, and Anthony Haynes, 37, were taken into custody early today at their Toledo residences without incident, according to the FBI.
Both Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Haynes are accused of knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, and transporting people they knew were younger than 18 years old to engage in commercial sex acts, federal officials said.
Reverend Jenkins is the founder and pastor for Abundant Life Ministries, 5025 Glendale Ave., according to the church’s website. The church website lists Lucas County Administrator Laura Lloyd-Jenkins as Mr. Jenkins’ wife. A Lucas County official confirmed today Mr. Jenkins is married to Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins is also being charged with sexual exploitation of children while Mr. Haynes is being charged with obstruction of justice. Both men have their initial appearance in U.S. District Court today.
“We have charged two individuals, but not with any affiliation with the church,” said FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson.
Ms. Anderson said the FBI received information a few weeks ago regarding allegations of the sexual misconduct involving minors and began an investigation. The crimes are alleged to have occurred over a few years, she said.
Ms. Anderson said she could not provide the victims’ ages or where they were from. Law enforcement officials arrested the two men about 9 a.m. at their residences.
Star Academy of Toledo, a kindergarten through 8th grade public charter school, shares a space with the church. The school was not placed on lock down, but bus pick up was moved from the east side of the building to the west side, where police vehicles were located.
“As a parent, I would be concerned, but all of my babies here in school are safe,” said principal Vincent Riccardi. “None of the staff in the church have anything to do with our kids. We don’t do programs with them. We have no affiliation with Abundant Life Church, other than we happen to share the building, but they’re not in our area.”
Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins is listed as the secretary on the board of trustees for Lucas County Children Services, according to the child protection agency website.
Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins has been on approved leave from her county administrator position since Wednesday to attend to a health-related family matter in California, said County Commissioner President Pete Gerken.
According to Jenkins’ bio on the church’s website: (link no longer active)
Pastor Cordell Arkee Jenkins is man of vision, purpose and prayer. His mission in ministry is to make strong the weak, to mend the broken and to heal the wounded. He is committed to preaching the Gospel to every ethnicity and every nation-to tell a dying world about Jesus.
Pastor Jenkins is the founder and pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, Ohio. On October 10, 2010 Abundant Life Ministries held their inaugural service as a new ministry in the Kingdom of God. From that date to the present, the Lord has shown himself faithful to the congregants of the ministry and also to the city at large.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised by his faithful parents Bishop Chorrethers and Pastor Stephanie A. Jenkins, Pastor Jenkins received visions as a child of how Christ wanted him to serve in ministry. Constantly surrounded by harvest workers he learned the importance of obedience to the voice of God.
After completing his education in the Cleveland Public School System, Pastor Jenkins journeyed to Salisbury, North Carolina to attend Livingstone College majoring in Political Science. During this time period in August 1994, he accepted this call to preach the Gospel.
Before founding Abundant Life Ministries, Pastor Jenkins pastored for over 15 years at several churches in the A.M.E. Zion Church in South Carolina, Oakland, California and Toledo, Ohio.
Never wanting to be idle in his work for the Kingdom and community, Pastor Jenkins has been involved with several organizations including several chapters of the NAACP, Brothers United for Change Advisory Board, Single Parent’s Harvest, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the Black Methodist Fellowship and served for Toledo Public schools as a Linkage coordinator. He currently resides on the board of directors for the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union.
Pastor Jenkins and Abundant Life Ministries are active members of Perfecting Fellowship International of a sisterhood of churches presided over by Bishop-Elect Marvin L. Winans. This fellowship of churches are both stateside and abroad that encompasses congregations from various states including New York, Texas, Florida, Alabama, London and South Africa; all of which meet annually for church growth, leadership training, community outreach and convocations packed with teaching, preaching and worship.
Pastor Jenkins is happily married to First Lady Laura C. Lloyd-Jenkins. He and his wife desire to be living examples of Christ’s love in the church and in the community. His personal motto is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.