Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pastor Faces Molestation Charges in Brunswick; Activist Is a Controversial Figure in Jacksonville Politics; Turns Himself In

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pastor Faces Molestation Charges in Brunswick; Activist Is a Controversial Figure in Jacksonville Politics; Turns Himself In

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Morrison, Terry Dickson & David Bauerlein

Kenneth Adkins, a Brunswick pastor in Georgia who doubles as a political consultant in the Jacksonville area, has gotten into his share of controversies and conflicts. But none perhaps as serious as he's facing now.

Adkins, 56, turned himself over to Glynn County authorities Friday morning on charges of aggravated child molestation and child molestation stemming from allegations made by a young male former member of his congregation.

"We are disappointed with what appears to be a rush to judgment by law enforcement authorities in this case," said his wife, Charlotte Stormy Adkins. "We are confident that Kenneth Adkins will be found innocent of all charges."

Attorney Kevin Gough, hired to represent Adkins on Thursday, said a bail hearing could be as early as Monday, but a preliminary hearing on the charges likely won't occur until Sept. 9.

"He looks forward to having his day in court," Gough said.

Stacy Carson, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Kingsland office, said District Attorney Jackie Johnson asked the GBI on Aug. 12 to assist the Brunswick Police Department in the investigation. It focused on suspected molestation in several locations in the Brunswick area including at Adkins' church, a vehicle and a victim's home, Carson said.

The incidents possibly occurred in 2010 and would have had to involve someone younger than 16 for child molestation charges to be brought.

Charlotte Adkins said she and her husband, despite the allegations, share a concern for the mental health of the accuser who the couple has mentored.

"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."

Adkins has asked to be placed on unpaid leave from The Greater Church Brunswick on Altama Avenue - the Greater Church also has congregations in Jacksonville and Atlanta - while his case is adjudicated. His wife said she will serve as acting pastor.

Adkins is a controversial figure in Jacksonville politics, particularly because of comments and crude caricatures he posted on his Twitter account while he helped lead the fight against expanding Jacksonville's anti-discrimination law to cover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Among the criticisms that Adkins lodged was his assertion that expanding the law would make it easier for sexual predators to find victims in bathrooms.

Adkins served as a panelist last December on one of the community forums that debated whether Jacksonville should broaden the law. Mayor Lenny Curry ultimately decided against doing so.

Gough hinted that there could be a political motivation to the charges brought against Adkins. …

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