Crime

Homophobic Pastor Found Guilty Of Child Molestation

| by Sarah Zimmerman

The controversial pastor who tweeted an anti-homophobic remark after the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub has been found guilty of eight charges related to child molestation.

One year ago, a specialist in the Army told the military that he had offered his girlfriend up sexually to pastor Kenneth Adkins, 57, seven years ago when he was growing up in Georgia, The Florida-Times Union reports.

He and his girlfriend were 15-years-old at the time and Adkins was 50. The age of consent in Georgia is 16.

The Army specialist says the sex was not forced, and that Adkins provided him with money and other types of support. But he also said he came forward to ensure Adkins could not do the same to other minors. 

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The accuser's former girlfriend had been living with Adkins and his family until a month after his arrest. She denies any sexual relations with Adkins.

"She’s in his clutches," said assistant district attorney Katie Gropper. "What he has done to that girl is not only criminal, it is deplorable."

But the army specialist says Adkins watched him and his girlfriend have sex countless times. The sex reportedly took place in the church office, at the beach and in Adkins' car. Photographs and electronic messages sent to the young couple indicate Adkins himself also had sexual relations with the two.

Adkins first made headlines for controversial tweets he made directly after the Orlando shooting that killed 49 and injured 53 at Pulse nightclub.

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"[B]een through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals that I don’t see none of them as victims," he wrote in one tweet at the time, according to the Times-Union. "I see them as getting what they deserve!!"

The pastor wrote a number of tweets in the span of a few hours in the wake of the shooting.

"Dear Gays, Go sit down somewhere," he wrote in another tweet. "I know y’all want some special attention; yall are sinners who need Jesus. This was an attack on America."

The jury, composed of three men and nine women, deliberated on the case for almost two hours before finding Adkins guilty, saying that the pastor was grooming the teenagers to have sex in front of him.

Adkins is being held without bail and will receive sentencing on April 25, The Huffington Post notes. He could face up to life in prison. 

Adkins' lawyer, Kenneth Gough, says that he plans to appeal.

"I know he was back there praying," said Gough. "We were disappointed with the verdict, but we respect it. It’s part of our jury system, but we will be filing a notice of appeal, obviously."

Sources: The Florida-Times Union (2), The Huffington Post / Photo Credit: Glynn County Jail via The Huffington Post

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