Kenneth Adkins made national headlines in June when he said that gay victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando were “getting what they deserve,” and now the pastor is again making news — this time for his own arrest for molesting a young boy.
The 56-year-old turned himself in to local officials on Friday for a charge of aggravated child molestation and child molestation in connection to allegations from a boy who belongs to his church, Jacksonville.com reported.
The allegations include several instances of Adkins molesting the boy, including inside the pastor’s church and in the victim’s home, said Stacy Carson, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The incidents reportedly took place in 2010 and involved a child younger than 16.
After the child abuse accusations were made public, Kenneth Adkins reportedly asked to be placed on unpaid leave from The Greater Church Brunswick, but his family members are vigorously denying the allegations. His wife, Charlotte Stormy Adkins, said that they are confident that Kenneth will be found innocent.
She added that the alleged victim was a boy involved in the church’s teenage outreach ministry.
“This young man was part of our teen ministry,” she said. “Ken and I have treated him like family, as has our church. He is a deeply troubled young man, to be sure, but our thoughts and prayers remain with him even now.”
The arrest of Kenneth Adkins made national headlines, especially in the wake of his controversial comments about the Pulse nightclub shooting. Adkins has become a prominent figure in Jacksonville politics as well, including leading a fight against an anti-discrimination law that protects gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
As The New Civil Rights Movement noted, Kenneth Adkins also tied the Pulse nightclub attack in to the plans to pass the anti-discrimination law.
“Dear Gays, Go sit down somewhere,” he tweeted in the wake of the attack. “I know y’all want some special attention; yall are Sinners who need Jesus. This was an attack on America.”
“It is a shame that Jax Gays are trying to use the Orlando Massacre as Blackmail to force the City to pass The HRO! Shame, Shame, Shame!”‘
Kenneth Adkins has also gained fame as a prominent supporter of Donald Trump.
Kenneth Adkins is no stranger to controversy, even before his remarks on the Pulse nightclub shooting. In 2012, a police officer in Georgia sought a warrant against Adkins for comments the preacher made about her on Facebook.
As the Augusta Chronicle noted, the incident came after Adkins accused the officer on Facebook of using her police power to access his criminal records.
“Brunswick police officer Barbara Hartman asked Magistrate Wallace Harrell on Thursday to issue one warrant charging the Rev. Ken Adkins with making false statements or writings and concealing facts from or submitting false documents to the government. She also asked Harrell to issue a ‘good behavior’ warrant to compel Adkins to stop saying bad things about her on Facebook.”
This is not the first time a prominent anti-gay figure has made headlines for a child molestation arrest. Lisa Biron, a New Hampshire lawyer famous for her strong stance against gays, was convicted in 2013 of child pornography for videotaping her own daughter having sex with two men on multiple occasions. Biron was also accused of making a video of herself having sex with her daughter, Salon reported.
While there are some major differences — chiefly that Biron was arrested and convicted and Adkins is still just accused of child molestation — many noted the similarities between the cases.
The arrest of Kenneth Adkins also caused a stir on Friday among a number of LGBT news sites and blogs, with many noting the hypocrisy of the allegations against the pastor.
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