Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Cordell Jenkins (47), Anthony Haynes (38), and Kenneth Butler (37) on charges of child sex-trafficking for recruiting, grooming and soliciting girls as young as 14 years old. The three Ohio pastors pleaded not guilty.
The superseding indictment alleges that 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.
While Haynes has been charged for allegedly trying to destroy electronic evidence of sex trafficking, Butler is charged for instructing another person to lie and lying himself to law enforcement about his involvement.
Justin E. Herdman, the U.S. attorney, said in a press release:
“These three men violated the trust of these children and the communities they purported to serve. 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, the pastors started sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl beginning in 2014 through 2017. Prosecutors say the abuse took place at hotels and at Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, where Haynes was a pastor and used his telephone to record the sexual assaults.
Meanwhile, according to court documents, Haynes gave the girl money and told her not to tell anyone, saying it would ruin his family and his church. He “facilitated” the victim being abused by several other men, including Jenkins, who repeatedly sexually exploited the girl at his home, in his office at Abundant Life Ministries, and at a motel in Toledo, prosecutors claimed.
Jenkins, who abused a second girl in March this year, also recorded the abuse with his cellphone and paid the girl with what he called “hush money,” court documents alleged. Butler, who was a pastor at Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Detroit, was indicted on sex trafficking charges involving a third girl who was abused between 2015 and March 2017.