TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Three pastors accused of coercing and sharing teenage girls to have sex, often for money, also sent one another photos and videos of the girls, federal prosecutors say.
Two of the men already have pleaded guilty, and the third is set to go on trial this week in federal court.
Anthony Haynes could face up to life in prison if he's convicted on charges that include child sex trafficking. Jury selection is expected to begin Wednesday.
Court documents have referenced three victims in all, the youngest being 14.
The allegations against the three Toledo-area pastors begin with Haynes, who started pursuing and grooming a 14-year-old girl in 2014, according to court documents.
He first forced her to perform sex acts in front of him and then later began having sex with the girl, according to the filings. He also warned her not to say anything because it would ruin his family and his church, investigators said.
Haynes, whose attorneys have declined to comment on the charges, later introduced the girl to Cordell Jenkins, a minister who founded his own church in Toledo and built a large following until it closed after his arrest.
Jenkins pleaded guilty last week to child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.
He was accused of having sex with two girls, one of whom attended his church, at his home, church office and a motel and often recorded the acts with his phone, authorities said in court documents.
The first pastor to plead guilty, Kenneth Butler, acknowledged in court last May that he had sex with two minors.
Attorneys for both Jenkins and Butler have declined to comment.
In addition to the charges against the men, Haynes' wife and stepdaughter are accused of abducting one of the victims at gunpoint in January and warning her not to testify at his trial.
Court documents say the pair forced the teenager from her apartment, choked her with a cord and told her to take back statements she made to investigators. Attorneys for the woman have declined to comment.