A third Ohio pastor charged with sex trafficking underage girls reportedly impregnated his teenage victim, who subsequently took abortive pills to terminate the pregnancy.
Pastor Kenneth Butler, 37, of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Toledo, Ohio, was arrested last month and hit with federal sex trafficking charges, joining the Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 46, and the Rev. Anthony Haynes, 38, who were arrested earlier this year.
Butler's accuser states in a redacted affidavit that she met him when she was 15 years old at Haynes' church. Shortly after meeting the minor, according to the document, Butler told her he wanted to have sex with her.
"Specifically, while in the parking lot of Hayne's church, Butler told her he wanted to have sex with her in the front seat of his car and that he would make her [redacted]." The sexual conversation was interrupted by a church member who approached the car, the affidavit says.
When the minor turned 16, however, "she had sex with Butler in his vehicle in the City of Toledo. Approximately one month later, she felt pregnant and took several Plan B pills she believed terminated the pregnancy."
"In my eyes he was learning her vulnerabilities, her love of God, and her faith, and he used that, twisted that perhaps, to lure her into what he wanted. It had nothing to do with God, Jesus or anything good," said Celia Williamson, Director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.
As reported, Jenkins, who led Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo, was taken into custody by the FBI back in April, along with Haynes, who oversaw Greater Life Christian Center, also in Toledo.
The U.S. attorney's office says that Haynes began grooming a 14-year-old girl for prostitution back in 2014. Haynes then introduced her to other men, and all three of the pastors sexually assaulted the child, authorities said.
"Jenkins and Haynes are accused of knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person(s) that the defendants knew was less than eighteen years old to engage in commercial sex acts," the FBI outlined in an official statement. "In addition to the above, Haynes is also being charged with obstruction of justice and Jenkins is being charged with sexual exploitation of children."
According to police documents, Hayes coerced the teen "into continued secrecy by implying revealing the sexual activity between them would ruin his family and church" and then paid the teen money to keep the encounters to herself.
Jenkins is also accused of paying for sex acts with another underage girl.
Both Haynes and Butler are also facing charges of obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation; Haynes is accused of attempting to destroy electronic evidence of sex trafficking, while Butler is accused of instructing another individual to lie and then lying himself to law enforcement about his involvement.
According to CBS News, a federal grand jury has indicted the three men on conspiracy to sex traffic children. All three former pastors, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday, were ordered to remain behind bars pending trial. If convicted, the three face 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, according to the Toledo Blade. "We are grateful for the courage of the victims and the dedication of our law-enforcement personnel in bringing these men to justice."
Responding to the new charges contained in the indictment handed down Tuesday, Allison Folmar, attorney for Jenkins said: "These are very serious allegations. He's accepting it as such. No it's not easy to deal with, but he's a very strong individual."
According to his bio on the Abundant Life Ministries page, Jenkins pastored for over 15 years at several churches in the A.M.E. Zion Church in South Carolina, Oakland, California, and Toledo. Jenkins' bio also claims that, "never wanting to be idle in his work for the Kingdom and community, Pastor Jenkins has been involved with several organizations" including the NAACP, the Black Methodist Fellowship, Single Parent's Harvest, and more.
Jenkins, the son of two pastors, said his mission in ministry is to "make the strong weak, the mend the broken and to heal the wounded."
His bio concludes: "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 community. His personal motto is 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' Philippians 4:13."
The former pastors are expected back in court on Jan. 8.