TOLEDO, Ohio – A minister who promised a woman he’d take care of her daughter began having sex with the teenager daily and later encouraged two other pastors to have sex with her, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
Anthony Haynes could face up to life in prison if he is convicted for child sex trafficking and other charges. The other two Toledo-area pastors will be charged in the investigation pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutors said during the opening of ‘Haynes’ trial that he first had sex with the girl when she was 14. She said that the evidence against him, including text messages, photos, voice mails and DNA evidence of his church, where the girl said that she often had sex.
Haynes’ lawyer told jurors that the allegations are shocking, but there is not enough evidence to prove that the trafficking in human beings and the conspiracy he comes across.
Lawyer Peter Wagner also said Haynes may have had a questionable relationship with the girl, but he could not coordinate properly or to take part in the human trafficking with her and the other ministers. He also said that there was no pay for sex.
Prosecutors say that the girl had a difficult childhood and was sexually abused by a family member.
Haynes promised in front of his congregation, to protect her and to serve as a father figure, but he started to take care of her for the sex when she turned 14 and the first forced her to perform sexual acts in front of him, said Michael Freeman, an assistant district attorney.
They had sex day after day, often in a motel or his church, the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, and Haynes would make her money, Freeman said.
After about a year, Haynes introduced her to Kenneth Butler, another pastor, and he also began having sex with her, Freeman said.
Sometimes the two men joked about the scheme, prosecutors said. A text that is shown in court that prosecutors say was sent by the Butler of the girl said: “You better nice nude when I am there.”
Prosecutors said the girl in addition met Cordell Jenkins, a minister who founded his own church in Toledo and built a large following until it closed after his arrest.
The FBI has said in court documents that Jenkins had sex with two girls in his home, church, office, and a motel, and often recorded the acts with his phone.
Haynes, prosecutors said, encouraged the relationship with Jenkins.
In addition to the charges against the men, Haynes’ wife and stepdaughter accused of abducting the girl at gunpoint in January, and warning her not to testify at his trial.
Court documents say the pair forced the teen out of her apartment, strangled her with a cord and told her to take back statements she made to investigators. Lawyers of Haynes’ wife and stepdaughter have declined to comment.
Just before her husband went on trial, his wife appeared Monday in the same courtroom where the judge overseeing the case rejected the request to be released.