Tennessee pastors arrested for seeking under-age sex

Tennessee pastors arrested for seeking under-age sex May 25, 2016

Pastors Jason Kennedy, 46, left, and Zubin Parakh, 32, were among 32 men and women arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) last week for seeking to have sex with an under-age girl in Tennessee.
According to this report, they had answered an online ad to have sex with an under-age prostitute.
Kennedy responded via text to an ad placed by an undercover agent. He agreed to pay $100 for half an hour of sex with two girls, one of whom was 15 years old.
He went to an arranged meeting place, handed over the money, and removed his trousers. He was then arrested, and charged with human trafficking and patronising prostitution.
Kennedy was a children’s minister at Grace Baptist Church in Karns, Tennessee. He was fired on May 20 when news broke of his arrest.
A statement from the church said:

The children’s pastor of Grace Baptist Church has been terminated as a result of an arrest in a police sting related to prostitution and human trafficking. The actions of the children’s pastor for which he has been arrested were part of his life outside the church, and we have received no questions or concerns related to his conduct within the church or its ministries.
The children’s pastor was hired two-and-a-half years ago. The church’s background check turned up no issues that indicate any previous problem. In fact, the children’s pastor in his application affirmed that he had no issues in his background of a criminal or other nature.
We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them.

Senior pastor Rev Ron Stewart said the news of Kennedy’s arrest had shocked his congregation.

He did it, but it’s like a tsunami that can cover a whole island. His tsunami has come across our whole church.

Parakh is creative pastor at Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge. TBI director Mark Gwyn said Parakh responded to ads indicating that he wanted to have sex with under-age girls. He has also been charged with patronising prostitution and trafficking.
Both men are due for preliminary hearings on May 31.
Hat tip: Peter Sykes

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  • Broga

    “Parakh is creative pastor at Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge.”
    I wonder what a creative pastor is compared to a pastor. To believe means you have to be creative so any pastor is creative.
    “We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them.”
    That’s nice.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: If you look at TBN UK (Freeview 65), and bring up the info on their different programmes, you will find that these titles are ten a penny, and, as in so many organizations today, a way of remunerating people handsomely for doing either a run-of-the-mill job or very little at all. “Senior Pastor”, “Associate Pastor”, “Associate Co-pastor”, “Youth Pastor”, “Creative Pastor”, “Worship Leader”; they’ve got ’em all!

  • CoastalMaineBird

    the children’s pastor in his application affirmed that he had no issues in his background
    Let’s all hope that a “background check” goes a little deeper than “anything naughty in your background? “

  • Angela_K

    Another day, another religious paedophile is exposed. I’m so glad I’m an atheist and have no morals.

  • Lurker111

    It’s Tennessee. One in every 16 men there are parasitespastors, so this is in keeping with normal statistics.

  • barriejohn

    Lurker: You’re right!

  • Raul Miller

    So as Freethinkers, when do we show up at churches and start screaming about the dangers of letting their children congregate in them. Thousands of cases of child sexual abuse in churches and yet no one shows up screaming about the danger of letting kids be alone with “youth pastors”.

  • barriejohn

    Raul Miller: It might be because we tend to be rational, reasonable people, who don’t tar everyone with the same brush; judge cases upon evidence rather than supposition and innuendo; and tend not to see “evil” everywhere that we look. Maybe we are a bit naive at times, but I sure don’t want to end up like this creature, who has been in the news recently:

  • Newspaniard

    I suppose that a sing operation like this against the frequenters of mosques would be regarded as islamophobic and the perpetrators would get a public apology from the Home Office. For the same reasons, the police would be afraid to run a similar sting in (say) Rochdale or Luton.

  • Raul Miller

    barriejohn: Yes, well said.

  • Cali Ron

    Becoming a pastor is only an internet site away. I’ve almost got myself ordained at one of those sites just for the novelty of being an “atheist pastor”.
    My favorite type of pastor was the Music Pastor or Minister of Music, the title my brother had when he was an Assembly of God pastor in Ohio. But let’s not forget the Street Pastors and the many iterations of “Outreach” Pastors.

  • Cali Ron

    Newspaniard: “…sting operation like this against the frequenters of mosques…” Last I heard visiting a mosque isn’t against the law and if it were we’d need to build a lot of very big prisons to lock up the millions of muslims who visit mosques.

  • barriejohn

    Newspaniard: It didn’t need a sting operation. You are well aware of the (mainly Asian) gangs who have been prosecuted recently over the exploitation of young women in Britain. We are not allowed to refer to them as “Muslim gangs”, but would it be right if we did, as I for one have no idea whether they were all Muslim, although I might have my suspicions. Again, I think that we should be setting an example by avoiding unsubstantiated innuendo and sticking purely to the facts. We have enough ammunition against Islam as it is!

  • Broga

    @barriejohn: All these pastors, co-pastors, associate-pastors etc seem so happy, fulfilled and full of joy. But life isn’t like that and what we are seeing is an act. We see evidence of the con often enough when the paedo sexual activities, financial thefts and general rip offs are exposed. Something they never address is whether their beliefs are based on any evidence.
    I see team vicar appearing in the UK. I supposed that must be different from the ordinary run of the mill vicar.

  • barriejohn

    Broga/Cali Ron: When I was first ensnared by the Plymouth Brethren we had just moved to a large, new council estate, and the sect had their meetings in an old farmhouse which the council used as a community centre (no one else got a look in!). The two most senior/pushiest men were appointed elders, and one of them took ALL the decisions. When some activities for “Youth” were arranged he produced a leaflet for distribution on the estate which bore the following words at the bottom of one page: “Organized by the Committee of Youth Leaders at …. Gospel Hall”. It was, of course, pure make-believe, and taught me at a young age to believe NOTHING that PR people – religious or otherwise – ever say!

  • Cali Ron

    barriejohn: So true. On of my first memories of christian PR was Vacation Bible School. Somehow, spending a week getting indoctrinated instead of playing with my friends didn’t seem like much of a “vacation”. Summer Indoctrination would have been a more accurate name.
    In a bit of irony my very conservative and zealously religious brother wasn’t conservative enough (I think being from liberal California was his worst sin to them) for his church in Ohio and they “let him go”. He got divorced and then remarried which is not allowed in the AG church so they revoked his ordination. My brother was the “good” brother and I was the “black sheep” for leaving the fold and rejecting religion. He’s in federal prison for financial misdeeds now and has been divorced by his 3rd wife. My mother’s faith was shaken, but she doubled down instead of questioning god, praying more and harder. I love my mother, but religion has really screwed our relationship, just like it screws everything else up. Sorry for going off topic there.

  • Broga

    @Cali Ron : No attempt was made to indoctrinate me although I was sent to Sunday School and Church immediately afterwards. However I soon realised, when I reached adolescence, that members of my extended family, did not like my atheism.
    I soon realised that none of them were prepared to discuss with me why I did not believe. Their view was that belief was a given and did not need anything except acceptance. One uncle never got beyond saying, “What can you do with someone who doesn’t believe in God?” Frustration doesn’t begin to describe my feelings.

  • Cali Ron

    Broga: Most religious people don’t know how to handle unbelievers. I’d say those of your family who can’t accept you because of religious believe are the one’s missing out. Hopefully, those family members closest to you accept and love you for who you are and not your lack of religion. Religion can be wedge between family members and friends when we all should be striving for closer relationships with each other.
    “Religion ruins everything.”

  • Stephen Mynett

    Broga, Cali Ron,
    I think a lot of religionists refuse to accept anything other than their world view. A while back a group of us were discussing the NHS and its cash problems, I proposed one obvious money saver, ridding hospitals of chaplains, some of whom get paid more than 40k a year and the overall bill for England and Wales is 40 million or so.
    Most of us agreed, especially as the majority of these chaplains are Christian and represent what is now a minority of the population. We also suggested that pastoral care should be provided by local churches or the church of the hospital patient.
    The two religionists stood staring at the ceiling throughout our brief exchange and refused to comment, even when asked. Quite simply, they were not clever enough to find an argument in favour of chaplains so remained in an arrogant silence.
    Religion makes people arrogant and selfish, these two were OK with other cuts to the NHS but not to their precious religion.