3 pastors accused of luring teen girls and paying for sex


Associated Press

TOLEDO

Three pastors worked together to entice teen girls to have sex, often for money, and shared photos and videos of the girls, federal prosecutors said.

One founded his own church and built a large following in Toledo. The other two oversaw congregations with a few dozen people that met in rented spaces.

All three pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that include child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Each could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Federal court documents describe how one of the pastors had sex with a girl in his church office and how another used his phone to record himself having sex with a teen.

There were at least three victims mentioned in the indictment, the youngest being 14.

While the men – Cordell Jenkins, 47, Anthony Haynes, 38, and Kenneth Butler, 37 – all operated their own churches, federal prosecutors said the investigation was connected and remains ongoing.

Haynes and Jenkins were arrested in April while Butler, who most recently ran a small church where his wife was the co-pastor, was arrested in October.

Prosecutors say Haynes first began pursuing and grooming a 14-year-old girl in 2014.

Haynes later introduced the girl to Jenkins and shared pornographic photos and videos that he had recorded, prosecutors said.

Jenkins, who followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a preacher in 1994, founded Abundant Life Ministries in Toledo seven years ago. The church closed after his arrest.

He began having sex with the girl supplied by Haynes in December, and later with another underage girl, an FBI agent testified. One of those girls attended his church, the agent said.

The same agent said that a third girl was 15 when she met Butler at Haynes’ church.

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