“Pastor” With Life Sentence For Trafficking Teen Girl Seeks Release Due to COVID


An Ohio man who once held the title of “pastor” is looking to receive a “compassionate release” while serving a life sentence in prison for grooming a teenage girl to have sexual relations with him and two other “pastors,” claiming his life is in danger due to the coronavirus.

According to the Toledo Blade, Anthony Haynes, former leader of the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, who began grooming his victim when she was just 14 years old, filed two handwritten motions in U.S. District Court seeking release during the coronavirus pandemic. One motion was filed late in October, while another was filed earlier this month.

41-year-old Haynes, who is being held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Gilmer County, West Virginia, a medium-security prison, claimed concerns for his own health, as well as that of his mother, while remaining behind bars.

Haynes said he suffered from sleep apnea, a respiratory condition, athlete’s foot, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, a sinus condition, an umbilical hernia, and diverticulitis, according to the Blade.

Haynes also expressed worry about the health of his nearly 80-year-old mother, who is caring for his children while he is locked up.

“I need to see my family again not in a casket but alive,” he wrote in his December motion. “My mother is old and getting older and I want to be by her side. She has been sick for a while and I just want the chance to live with her again before the Lord calls her home.”

Haynes was arrested and charged back in 2017 alongside Pastor Kenneth Butler of Kingdom Encounter Family Worship Center and Rev. Cordell Jenkins of Abundant Life Ministries.

According to ABC13, court documents state that Butler, Jenkins, and Haynes sexually assaulted their victim from 2014 through 2017. The victim was allegedly 14 when the assaults began, some of which allegedly took placed at Haynes’ church.

The Christian Post reports that Haynes reportedly routinely paid the girl money after the sex acts but warned her not to tell anyone what had happened, fearing it would ruin his family and his church.

The Post continues:

He later introduced her to Jenkins, who allegedly sexually exploited the girl at his home repeatedly, as well as at his office at Abundant Life Ministries and at a motel in Toledo, according to court documents. He reportedly paid the girl and recorded some of their activities with his cellular phone. He also allegedly exploited another underage girl who engaged in commercial sexual activity in March 2017.

Although sympathized with Haynes’ children at the time of his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman did not hold back justice for the “disgusting, horrible” acts Haynes and his fellow wolves committed.

“Society relies on people of trust,” Friedman said at the time. “It’s totally violated here and we have to send a message.”

The deadline for prosecutors to file their response to Haynes’ motions was December 14. Haynes will also get the opportunity to respond by Jan. 14, 2021, before Judge Friedman makes a decision. It is unclear at this time whether his request will be granted.

Haynes’ stepdaughter, Alexis Fortune, who was convicted of trying to persuade Haynes’ victim not to testify against him, also requested compassionate release for health issues of her own, including asthma and being overweight. Her request was granted last Thursday.

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