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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 17, 2019

Toledo pastor sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking of a minor, while another Toledo pastor sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for similar crimes

A Toledo pastor was sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking of a minor, while another Toledo pastor was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for similar crimes, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said.

Cordell Jenkins, 48, was sentenced to life in prison. Kenneth Butler, 39, was sentenced to 210 months in prison. They previously pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to sex traffic children, sex trafficking of children and related charges.

“These sentences for two men who abused their positions of authority to prey on children are richly deserved,” Herdman said. “I remain in awe of the courage of the victims and the dedication of our law enforcement personnel in bringing these men to justice.”

"Our children should not be bought, sold or traded,” Smith said. “They should not be used for financial or personal gain.  The children who are victimized in the vicious world of sex trafficking deserve justice.  In federal court in Toledo, justice was served.  Pastor Anthony Haynes violated every trust bestowed on him - as a leader of the church, he was responsible for helping those in need.  Especially children.  As we saw this week, he violated that trust in the worst way imaginable.  Today we are thankful for the law enforcement partnerships that led to this verdict."

Jenkins repeatedly sexually exploited the minor at his home on Barrington Drive, at his office at Abundant Life Ministries and at a motel in Toledo. He paid her and referred to the payment as “hush money.” He often recorded these interactions with his cellular telephone, according to court documents.

Another pastor, Anthony Haynes, was convicted this year by a jury of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking, child exploitation and obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation following a trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

Haynes, Butler and Jenkins sexually assaulted a juvenile girl beginning in 2014 through 2017, according to trial testimony and court documents.

The girl was 14 when the conduct began and she was in the custody of Haynes. Some of this conduct took place at Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, where Haynes was pastor at the time. Haynes used his cellular telephone to record these sexual assaults, according to trial testimony and court documents.

Haynes also facilitated the victim being sexually exploited by other men, including Jenkins, according to trial testimony and court documents.

Jenkins also caused another juvenile girl to engage in commercial sex acts in March 2017, according to court documents.

Butler also caused another juvenile girl to engage in commercial sex acts from 2015 through 2017, according to court documents.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Freeman and Alissa Sterling following an investigation by the FBI’s Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of members of the FBI, Toledo Police Department, Perrysburg Township Police Department, Lima Police Department, Oregon Police Department, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Lucas County Sheriff’s Office.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated May 17, 2019