56-year-old Kenneth Adkins, a Georgia pastor who said that the victims of the Orlando massacre ‘got what they deserved’ has been found guilty of eight counts of child molestation of a young boy and girl who attended his church.
Kenneth has been very public with his anti-gay views and fought hard against expanding non-discrimination protections to LGBT people in Jacksonville, Florida.
At one point during the battle over Jacksonville’s ordinance, Kenneth dressed in drag and made threats on Facebook, saying, “I am gonna ‘pee’ next to your women in the women’s bathroom and let’s see how y’all feel.”
via Savannah Now:
Adkins showed no emotion as the jury provided the verdict. He will be sentenced April 25. The four-times married man with 10 children had no family present for the verdict nor any day of the week-long trial. Georgia has strict mandatory minimum sentencing laws and because Adkins has a prior record, there’s a possibility he will never be a free man. Adkins is 57.
Adkins’ attorney said once his client is sentenced, he’ll file the paperwork for a new trial. Kevin Gough maintains the state deliberately withheld pertinent evidence that could have drawn into question the mental stability of Adkins’ accuser.
That accuser’s mother left the courtroom in tears Monday. She had attended the waning days of the trial, missing her son’s — an Army Specialist from Fort Leavenworth — testimony. Though not wishing to make a formal statement, she said she was relieved that the trial was over and that her son was believed.
Throughout the trial Gough tried to poke holes in the state’s case by questioning the motive of male accuser. Gough was stunned by the verdict and how quickly the jury came to the unanimous decision.
“You never know what 12 people are going to do,” Gough said.
Adkins is a former drug addict who reinvented himself in Jacksonville when he opened up his public relations firm. Many in North Florida saddled up to him in an attempt to curry the black vote. Adkins, for his part, was fairly successful.
He said in multiple phone calls to the Times-Union leading up to his trial that he felt a calling to be a preacher. That’s when he landed in Southeast Georgia. It was here that he made an assortment of enemies for failing to make good on financial promises; for his hard-line Republican stances that tended to put him out of sync with other black people; for basically being inflammatory no matter the subject.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tapped Adkins to be on a panel discussion regarding the possibility of expanding the city’s Human Right Ordinance to include gays, lesbians and transgender people. Adkins told the Times-Union he was picked by multiple pastors to trumpet their anti-gay, anti-expansion stance. He said he was paid for his efforts that included posting lewd and inflamatroy charictures of former Mayor Tommy Hazouri in the restroom.
In his one-hour and 20-minute closing statements, Gough on eight ocassions told jurors their dislike for Adkins could not be enough to convict him.
“Hypocrisy is not a crime,” Gough said.
He was convicted of grooming two teens — youths he was supposed to me mentoring — to have sexual intercourse first in front of him so he could judge if they were doing it properly to eventually joining in on the acts himself. Last week the jury saw two photographs of Adkins’ penis that he sent his male accuser in 2014. And they saw several electronic messages sent between Adkins and the female.
Five of the charges he’s guilty of relate to the female who denied anything of the sort happened. She lived with Adkins and his wife until about a month after his arrest.
“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.”
The male told the jury last week that Adkins watched them have sex so many times that he lost track. He said the sex — in the presence of Adkins occurred in the church office, at the beach and in Adkins’ car. The male, according to testimony presented during the trial, initially told an Army investigator that his girlfriend was 16 and he was 15 when the activity first began. On the witness stand, the young man said his then-girlfriend was 15. Sixteen is the age of consent in Georgia.
Much of the trial involved conflicting statements leaving many who sat in the courtroom each day to be astonished that the verdict didn’t come back as a hung jury.
We’re not surprised. Not one bit.