BRUNSWICK, Ga. - On the second day of testimony in the trial of controversial Pastor Kenneth Adkins on child molestation charges, his accuser and Adkins' wife took the stand in a Brunswick courtroom.
The accuser, now 22, told the jury Wednesday that he considered Adkins a "mentor" and "father figure." At one point, he said he still cared for him.
"I respected him like someone that's, like, my dad. So I would do, at that point, anything just to keep him around. So he wouldn't leave like my dad," the accuser said.
But he also backed up his claims, testifying Adkins began molesting him when he was still 15 years old, shortly after he joined the Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship in 2009.
"I know you said that they occurred in the office on Gee Street. Were there any other places that those acts took place?" the prosecutor asked.
The accuser responded, "In a car," as he hesitated and wiped his eyes.
The defense then worked to put holes in that story, focusing on the timeline. Adkins' attorney, Kevin Gough, said the accuser was 16 years old when the first sexual contact was made -- not 15 as the 22-year-old claims.
"How is it that you could have developed a relationship with Ken Adkins from December of 2009 to January of 2010?" How is that even possible?" Gough said.
Also presented in the south Georgia courtroom Wednesday was a secretly recorded conversation between the accuser and Adkins. In the recording, Adkins can be heard saying, "Everything I did for you, I did from my heart."
During opening statements Tuesday, the prosecutor said, Adkins would take the boy to school and buy him gifts before eventually asking to watch him and his 15-year-old girlfriend have sex. He claims Adkins then touched her inappropriately.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, years later, the accuser also told investigators that Adkins molested him in 2010 when he was younger than 16.
On Wednesday, the accuser said he came forward because he didn't want the same thing to happen to anyone else.
Adkins' wife also took the stand late Wednesday afternoon, answering questions about phone calls with her husband around that time.
The trial is set to continue Thursday morning.
Adkins, 56, made a name for himself across the region and in Jacksonville by making controversial comments opposing gay rights.
Two of five charges of aggravated child molestation were dropped Monday, but Adkins still faces three other counts on that charge, plus enticing a child and influencing a witness.
According to the state, the two charges were dropped because the witness who would testify to them wasn't positive on the dates of the incidents and prosecutors didn't want to risk it. If they happened after the accuser was an adult, there would be no crime.
Adkins turned down a plea deal last month. Prosecutors offered Adkins a sentence of five to 30 years if he were to plead guilty to child molestation, but his defense team turned it down. Adkins has said he is innocent of all charges.
If convicted, Adkins could face up to life in prison.
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