Controversial pastor Ken Adkins arrested on charges of child molestation

Jason Rantala and Ken Amaro report. 8/26/2016

BRUNSWICK, Ga.—Brunswick Pastor Kenneth Adkins turned himself into the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Friday on charges stemming from alleged child molestation, a news release from the law enforcement agency says.

Adkins, 56, turned himself in on one count of aggravated child molestation and one count of child molestation at approximately 9 a.m. Authorities said that their investigation into the pastor focuses on suspected molestation in multiple locations.

The bureau's investigation began on Aug. 12 after Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson requested their agents' assistance. The investigation is ongoing.

Adkins' attorney, Kevin Gough, says that his client isn't guilty of the crimes, calls the allegations unfounded and is sure Adkins will be cleared of any and all wrongdoing.

Gough says he believes the accusations against Adkins are said to have occurred in 2010.

"As much as Kenneth Adkins has done and said over the years, he's made a lot of enemies, whether that has anything to do with his case, we certainly hope not," Gough says. "But it seems like there was a rush this week, in the last 24 hours for this thing - there are things - reasons for believing that."

Gough says that Adkins had willingly turned himself in, and authorities confirmed he reported to the Glynn County Sheriff's Office at 9 a.m. to answer arrest warrants.

Adkins is known for his controversial remarks and actions in the political sphere, beyond his work with the church. After the Orlando massacre at the Pulse gay club, he tweeted that gay people deserved what they got.

"been through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals," his tweet reads, "that I don't see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!!"

His comments were widely condemned by local civic leaders, including Mayor Lenny Curry. Curry had appointed Adkins to his community forum to decide if gay, lesbian and transgender people should be added to the city's anti-discrimination law. 

Curry released this statement after Adkins turned himself in:

“I know nothing more about the allegations than what has been reported in the news, but it sickens me. If he is found to have done what he stands accused of, he deserves the fullest punishment the law allows.”

Adkins has also accused political opponents of a wide range of things over the years, like being a runaway slave or a child molester.

He later denied saying the Pulse nightclub victims were the intended targets of his tweet.

The pastor's wife, Charlotte Adkins, read a prepared statement on Friday and said the accuser was a deeply troubled young man. She also says that she's disappointed in law enforcement's 'rush to judgment' about her husband.

"The young man was part of our teen ministry, we loved him as part of our church family, he is a deeply troubled young man," she says. "Our prayers and our thoughts go out to him and remain with him even now."

She'll take over the position of acting pastor at The Greater Church for the time being, as Adkins has taken unpaid leave from the church.

Adkins told the Times-Union recently that he has three congregations including one in the Atlanta area.

He's been arrested before, several times in Duval County over the years, once in 2010 for uttering a fake or worthless check, and several times in the early 2000s for similar crimes. His criminal record stretches back to 1992, when he was charged with again uttering a false check. He was accused of grand theft as well.

Adkins will have his first court appearance Monday at 2 p.m.

Stay with First Coast News for updates on this developing story.


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