Pastor Kenneth Adkins is facing consequences for his sexual relationship with a teenage girl and boy at his church seven years ago. On Monday, a jury of three men and nine women found the 57-year-old guilty of eight child molestation-related charges.
According to The Florida Times-Union, Adkins is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25. However, his attorney, Kevin Gough, already plans to file paperwork for a new trial. He argues that the state deliberately withheld important evidence that could question the mental stability of Adkins’ accuser.
The assistant district attorney who tried the case, Katie Gropper, asserted that the accuser just wanted to be believed. The young man came forward a year ago when he described to the military his past experiences with his former girlfriend and Adkins. He said both the girl and him were 15 years old when she was led to have sex with Adkins seven years ago. Adkins was 50 at the time. The young man insisted the sex was never forced and he acknowledged Adkins as a “good man” who provided money and support. However, the victim did not want Adkins to continue similar sexual actions with underage youth, which is why he came forward.
The state claimed that Adkins led the two teenagers, who he was supposed to be mentoring, to have sex in front of him. Five of Adkins charges where in relation to the girl, who currently denies any sexual encounters happened. She stayed with Adkins and his wife until about a month after Adkins’ arrest. “She’s in his clutches,” Gropper insisted. “What he has done to that girl is not only criminal, it is deplorable.” The male accuser testified last week that Adkins watched them have sex so many times that he lost count. Such instances occurred in the church office, the beach, and in Adkins’ car.
Adkin’s attorney tried to soften the states case by challenging the time frame and arguing that the victims were of age. On the witness stand, the male accuser said that he and his girlfriend were both 15 years old at the time. However, he originally told army investigators that his girlfriend was 16 and he was 15. The age of consent in Georgia is 16 years old.
Gough also questioned the male accuser’s motives, since a couple years ago, he took out a several-thousand-dollar loan for Adkins and Adkins has yet to pay it back in full. In addition, the pastor had power of attorney over the male accuser’s money and the accuser testified that when checking the commissary, he discovered his account was drained. Gough argued, “The most most obvious motive here, and it is hard to overlook, is money. Money. Money. Money.”
Gough also acknowledged that the accuser came forward just months before marrying another man. He insisted that his allegations could be a way to get back at Adkins for his history of anti-gay rhetoric. There were even instances where Adkins got made up in drag to protest homosexuality. See below:
According to Adkins, he was vocalizing other pastor’s opposition to expanding Jacksonville’s human rights ordinance to gay, lesbian, and transgender people. He insisted that they contacted him and even compensated him for his efforts. His duties involved such tasks as posting lewd caricatures of former mayor Tommy Hazouri in a bathroom.
Adkins, who is a former drug-addict turned public relations professional turned preacher, has butted heads with many groups before. In Southeast Florida, he developed a reputation of not following through on financial promises. He’s also made inflammatory remarks and supported Republican stances — which constantly put him at odds with members of the Black community.
Following his verdict, Adkin continues to insist that he never had sex with the teens. When photos and electronic messages were brought up by interviewers, Adkins acknowledged, “Those were bad decisions. I cannot justify any of that.”
The state maintains that Adkins was motivated by sex, money and control. Georgia has strict mandatory sentencing laws, so Adkins could face some serious time in prison.