A former pastor in Toledo, Ohio, pleaded to be spared a life sentence for his crime of grooming a 14-year-old girl to have sex with him and two of his pastor friends, according to The Toledo Blade — but the judge was not inclined to offer mercy.
Anthony Haynes, the former pastor at the Greater Life Christian Center, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman to life in prison for his “disgusting, horrible” behavior and lack of remorse.
“I don’t deserve life. I don’t deserve life,” Haynes said during a sermon-like speech. “Like I said, I’ve been doing life for 27 months while I’ve been away from my children and this hurts ... my need today is for you to have mercy on Anthony Haynes.”
Haynes was found guilty in March of “engaging in sex-trafficking with a minor, sex-trafficking of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, and obstructing a sex-trafficking investigation.”
His partners in crime, then-pastors Cordell Jenkins and Kenneth Butler, each pleaded guilty, receiving a life sentence and 17½ years, respectively.
The men’s victim, a then-14-year-old girl, now 19, who came to live at Haynes’ home after her mother said she could no longer care for the teen, testified at trial that Haynes “Haynes had sex with her at his church, in his vehicle, at motels, and inside a storage area where he worked.”
She also said she had engaged in sex with Jenkins and Butler in various places, including the church, hotels, and Jenkins’ home.
Prosecutors lobbied the judge for a life sentence, in part because other children have since come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by Haynes. The former pastor could face additional charges.