On Monday (May 14), Toledo pastor Kenneth Butler pleaded guilty to sex trafficking minors. He is set to appear in court for sentencing in September.
Butler pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to sex traffic children, two counts of sex trafficking children, and one count of obstructing a sex trafficking investigation between 2015 and March 2017.
|About Kenneth Butler|
|Siblings||Akilah T. Sweet, LeAndre’a Davis, Dominique Trumbo, Kareem Mcbride, Lexington Thomas, Terrance R Carter|
|PLEADED GUILTY TO||One count of conspiracy to sex traffic children, Two counts of sex trafficking children and One count of obstructing a sex trafficking investigation|
Butler is expected to receive a 17.5-year sentence. Per the terms of his plea agreement, both sides may ask for a 210-month sentence.
U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said, “This defendant has admitted to crimes that include preying on a foster child who was previously the victim of sexual abuse, and he committed these crimes in a house of worship.”
He added that, although Butler may call himself a pastor,“in the eyes of the law, he is a criminal who pays money to sexually assault children.”
Two other pastors, Anthony Hayes and Cordell Jenkins, were also allegedly involved. Both were indicted for their involvement in the crime, and are awaiting trial.
Additionally, Laura Lloyd Jenkins was indicted for blocking the investigation, and is also awaiting trial.
Butler’s plea agreement acknowledges that he “did knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, patronize, or solicit, by any means, Juvenile #1 and #2, knowing that such juveniles had not attained the age of 18 years and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.”
Who Is Kenneth Butler?
Butler was born in Detroit. When he was in the 11th grade, he dropped out of school citing “pressure” and “poor decisions.” He told the judge that he worked several odd jobs in factories, restaurants, and as a security guard in Detroit and Toledo.
The 38-year-old claimed to be an unpaid pastor in Detroit from 2007 to 2012, before being an unpaid pastor at Kingdom Encounter for two years.
Butler is married to his co-pastor, Tamara Butler. He has three kids and two stepchildren.
Until last year, Butler was very active on Facebook. In fact, he would post a lot about his work, wife, and daughter.
In 2014, Butler welcomed a pet into his house. His Facebook bio calls him a “father, husband, son, Prophet, Pastor, Overseer. Most of all I’m a Child of God and love people. [sic]”
Butler’s father, Kevin Strickland, lives in Akron, Ohio, and studied at Liberty University. Butler’s Facebook profile lists two sisters: Akilah T. Sweet and LeAndre’a Davis. Butler has four brothers: Dominique Trumbo, Kareem Mcbride, Lexington Thomas, and Terrance R. Carter.
Timeline of Events
2013: Church Shut Down
After his church was shut down, Butler began attending the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo. At the time, the church’s lead pastor was Anthony Haynes. Butler and Haynes quickly became good friends.
2014: Butler Learns of Juvenile #1’s Assault
Haynes told Butler that Juvenile #1 moved into his house.
He also revealed that Juvenile #1 was sexually assaulted by family members when she was younger. One of her family members was convicted for their actions.
2015: Butler Meets & Assaults Juvenile #1
According to sources, Haynes and Juvenile #1 drove to pick up Butler. The trio went to Haynes’ office in the Greater Life Christian Center. Both Butler and Haynes had oral and unprotected vaginal sex with Juvenile #1. While Butler penetrated Juvenile #1, she reportedly performed oral sex on Haynes.
2016: Haynes Starts a New Church
Haynes shut down Greater Life Christian Center and started the University Bible Fellowship in Toledo. After it opened, Haynes and Butler each took turns having unprotected penetrative sex with Juvenile #1, and had her perform oral sex on both of them.
It was after this that Haynes told Butler that another pastor, Cordell Jenkins, was also having sex with Juvenile #1. Butler continued having sex with Juvenile #1 in a motel room, and her residence. When she mentioned needing $30 for her hair, he only gave her the money after having unprotected sex with her.
2016: Meeting Juvenile #2
Juvenile #2 used to attend church the Greater Life Christian Center, where she met Butler in 2016.
After they met, Butler founded his own church in the Detroit area. He often took Juvenile #2 to his church, and also had sex with her, knowing that she was a minor. She used to babysit Butler’s kids during service. Butler also drove her around, even giving her $20 on at least one occasion.
2017: Start of the Investigation
In March 2017, Haynes told Butler that they were the subjects of a federal investigation. Worried about getting into trouble, Butler deleted his text conversations with Juvenile #1.
Court documents state that, on October 4, 2017, Butler asked Juvenile #2 to lie to authorities about them having sex.
Due to their ages, neither of the victims’ names were released. The case is being prosecuted, with Kenneth Butler already pleading guilty to the charges against him.
Both Cordell Jenkins and Anthony Haynes are being held in jail awaiting trial, which is currently scheduled for September 4. Both pastors, as well as Jenkins’ wife, Laura Lloyd-Jenkins, have a pretrial hearing and plea-change deadline set for July 19.