Far north of Cincinnati, local law enforcement officials teamed up with the FBI to arrest two Ohio men, including a pastor, on charges of sex trafficking of children. According to news media reports, the men allegedly had multiple sexual encounters with a girl who was 14 years old when the encounters began. One of the suspects is the founder and pastor of Toledo’s Abundant Life Ministries.
According to the FBI, the specific sex crime charge filed against the men is as follows: knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person(s) that the defendants knew was less than 18 years old to engage in commercial sex acts.
The pastor is also charged with sexual exploitation of children, the FBI stated.
According to a Toledo TV news report, the criminal complaint states that the men had sexual encounters with the girl at church and at local motels and hotels. The FBI apparently says it has a surveillance recording showing the girl entering and leaving hotel rooms with each of the men.
The encounters allegedly continued over the past several years to last month.
According to the news report, the criminal complaint states that the girl was paid for sexual encounters with several men and she was encouraged by at least one of the men charged to send nude photos and videos of herself. The FBI also says more than one of the encounters with the charged men was recorded on a phone.
While publicity in these matters is inevitably very negative, it is not evidence of guilt. Defendants have a right to trial and assistance from skilled criminal defense attorneys experienced in defending clients’ rights and freedom.