Shocking News: Three Pastors Charged With Sex Trafficking Minors

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Three Pastors Charged With Sex Trafficking Minors

Three Toledo pastors have appeared in the U.S. District Court on accusations that 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, were named in an 11-count indictment by a federal grand jury, charged with conspiracy to sex traffic children.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

U.S Attorney Justin E. Herdman released a statement saying “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.”

If the men are convicted, Michael Freeman, an assistant U.S. Attorney said prosecutors would recommend life sentences in prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the conspiracy started in 2014 when a 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by all three men. Some of the incidents are thought to have taken place at Greater Life Christian Center where Rev. Haynes was a pastor.

Rev. Anthony Haynes

Prosecutors believe that Haynes groomed and exploited the girl between 2014 and 2017. He is said to have recorded the sexual assaults on his phone, regularly gave her money after the assaults and asked her not to tell anyone as it would ruin his family and the church.

Haynes is also accused of introducing the girl to the other Reverends for sexual activity and for sharing pornographic videos and pictures.

Rev. Cordell Jenkins

It is alleged that within a three month period from late 2016 to 2017, Rev. Jenkins exploited the girl at his home, at his office and at a motel. Prosecutors say he paid between $100 and $300 for sex, calling the payments “hush money”. He too is accused of recording some of the incidents on his phone along with soliciting a second underage girl in March of this year.

Rev. Butler is charged with the trafficking of a third girl between 2015 and March 2017. The girl told investigators she met Butler at Haynes’ church when she was 15 and he would give her rides to his church in Detroit.

She said she had sex with him in his car on two occasions, one of which he paid her money for. He then supposedly told her to lie to the FBI if she was ever questioned about him.

Rev. Kenneth Butler

Both Haynes and Butler are charged with obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation. Haynes allegedly tried to destroy electronic evidence and Butler for advising someone to lie to law enforcement about his involvement.

The original indictment was filed last April against Jenkins and Haynes. Mr Butler was not named originally, however; he now faces a conspiracy charge along with two counts of sex trafficking of children and one count of obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation.

All three men are to remain in custody, and a status hearing has been scheduled for Jan 8th by Judge Zouhary.

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