“These three men violated the trust of these children and the communities they purported to serve.”
Pastors Kenneth Butler, Anthony J. Haynes, and Cordell Jenkins have been charged in an 11-count indictment pertaining to accusations about the sex trafficking of children. They have all pleaded not guilty.
According to the New York Times, the three are accused of sexually assaulting a girl and “facilitated” her abuse by several other men. Video of the alleged abuse, which occurred at hotels and at the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, was reportedly recorded on a phone. She was reportedly paid some amount of “hush money” and encouraged to stay silent — she was told that coming forward would bring the church to ruins. Two more girls were allegedly abused by the three between 2015 and March 2017.
“All three have religious affiliations and knew each other in that capacity,” said Michael Tobin, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office. “All three claim to be ministers in one form or another … It takes the three of them and loops them all into one big conspiracy with three victims.”
Allison Folmar, a lawyer for Jenkins, said that he had “done a lot of good” in his community, “but all of that is clearly overshadowed with what he is facing right now.”
Butler had posted a video apologizing to his community: “It is never my intention to hurt or displease God. Let alone you, the people.” That video has since been deleted.
“These three men violated the trust of these children and the communities they purported to serve,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said, 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.”
[Photo: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office]