Wife of Pastor Accused of Child Sex Trafficking Has Been Arrested

She appeared subdued as she was led into the courtroom in handcuffs. She made no statement during the arraignment beyond answering questions from the judge.

Stevin Groth, her defense lawyer, declined to comment after the proceeding.

(TOLEDO, Ohio) — The wife of one of three Ohio pastors accused of child sex trafficking has been indicted on federal charges accusing her of interfering in her husband’s investigation.

U.S. District Court records show 43-year-old Laura Lloyd-Jenkins was arrested Friday in Toledo on such charges as obstructing a sex trafficking investigation and making a false statement.

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Court records show she pleaded not guilty and was ordered held pending a detention hearing. Her attorney declined to comment after the arraignment.

Lucas County commissioners recently fired Lloyd-Jenkins from her job as a county administrator in Ohio.

Her husband, Cordell Jenkins, pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he and two other pastors conspired to recruit teen girls to have sex with them and shared photos and videos of the girls.

Mike Tobin, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said FBI agents arrested her Friday afternoon and she appeared in U.S. District Court before Judge Jack Zouhary.

Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins pleaded not guilty to both charges during her arraignment Friday. Judge Zouhary ordered her held in the Lucas County jail pending a detention hearing Thursday. Her pretrial was set for Jan. 8.

She appeared subdued as she was led into the courtroom in handcuffs. She made no statement during the arraignment beyond answering questions from the judge.

Stevin Groth, her defense lawyer, declined to comment after the proceeding.

Michael Freeman, an assistant U.S. attorney, said after the proceeding, “The grand jury has found probable cause to both of these charges and we look forward to seeing this process through.”

The charges stem from an FBI investigation last spring that led to the indictment of the Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 47, the Rev. Anthony Haynes, 38, and, subsequently, the Rev. Kenneth Butler, 37, for sex trafficking of children and production of child pornography.

Federal prosecutors allege the three men sexually assaulted a girl who was just 14 when the activity began in 2014. It is alleged that some of the crimes occurred at Mr. Jenkins’ church, Abundant Life Ministries, and at Mr. Haynes’ church, Greater Life Christian Center.

According to a superseding indictment filed Friday, Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins obstructed the investigation by notifying a defendant — presumably her husband — of the forthcoming investigation between March 29 and April 12.

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She also is accused of making false statements April 12 to law enforcement officers “by lying and misrepresenting the nature, depth, and scope of her knowledge” of the sex trafficking conspiracy, the indictment states.

In July, county commissioners suspended Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins without pay for two weeks after a federal court hearing in which an FBI agent testified that she was made aware of her husband’s alleged crimes at least a week before his arrest on April 7.

Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins had also been secretary of the Lucas County Children Services Board at the time of her husband’s arrest. She subsequently took a leave from that board and later resigned.

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Commissioners then placed her on paid administrative leave beginning Aug. 1 and terminated her Nov. 28.

Board President Pete Gerken said Friday that commissioners were unaware charges would be brought against Ms. Lloyd-Jenkins. He reiterated what he said when she was fired.

“Commissioners released her from employment because we felt she was no longer the right person to represent the county in the highest non-elected position,” he said.

She was hired as county administrator in March, 2013. Prior to that, she had worked in administrative positions in Alameda County, California for 11 years.

The three pastors are being held in jail pending trial. The next hearing in their case is scheduled for Jan. 8 before Judge Zouhary.

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‘Prophet’ Among 3 Pastors Charged for Sex With Minors; Teen Allegedly Aborted Pregnancy

Pastor Kenneth Butler of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center in Toledo, Ohio, was arrested last week and slapped with federal sex trafficking charges, joining two other well-known area pastors behind bars.

Authorities say Butler’s case is related to the cases of the Rev. Cordell Jenkins, 46, and the Rev. Anthony Haynes, 38. Jenkins founded and was pastor of Abundant Life Ministries while Haynes led the Greater Life Christian Center, according to the Toledo Blade. They were arrested on April 7 by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for sex trafficking of children. The pastors are said to have knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided or obtained a person under the age of 18, WTOL said.

Haynes is alleged to have been sexually exploiting juveniles for the last three years dating back to when one of the juveniles involved was 14 years old.

Butler’s accuser states in a redacted affidavit that she met him when she was 15 years old at Haynes’ church. Shortly after meeting the minor, according to the document, Butler told her he wanted to have sex with her.

“Specifically, while in the parking lot of Hayne’s church, Butler told her he wanted to have sex with her in the front seat of his car and that he would make her [redacted].” The sexual conversation was interrupted, however, by a church member who approached the car.

When the minor turned 16, however, “she had sex with Butler in his vehicle in the City of Toledo. Approximately one month later, she felt pregnant and took several Plan B pills she believed terminated the pregnancy.Another time, the minor described having sex with Butler, 37, inside his vehicle in an alley off the Anthony Wayne Trail. “Immediately following the sex, Butler placed money on the center console for her. [She] took the money and later purchased food for her and her siblings. [She] stated while she had sex with him again, he did not pay her on that occasion,” the affidavit said.

Butler, who calls himself a prophet on his Facebook page, claimed in the affidavit after confessing to sex with the minor that the money he gave her was not for sex.

Celia Williamson, director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, told WTOL that Butler groomed and exploited his victim.

“In my eyes he was learning her vulnerabilities, her love of God, and her faith, and he used that, twisted that perhaps, to lure her into what he wanted. It had nothing to do with God, Jesus or anything good,” Williamson said.

In a video apology prior to being arrested, Butler did not specifically mention the charges against him.

“Before things blow up … I wanted to … just apologize. I don’t believe I’ve done it on purpose. I try not to do anything on purpose but … if I Kenneth Butler … have done anything in any way to offend you to make you feel bad to make you see God or me different … I wanted to get on here and make a public apology,” he said.

“It’s never my intention to hurt or displease God. Let alone you the people. My heart’s desire is only that we please God and do the work that he has assigned us to do. I know sometimes because of who we are and who we are connected to our assignments can get twisted up and things happen. So in this season I said be very careful. Be very careful of your connections,” he said.

Butler was held due to a recording by Haynes’ wife.

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