Activist pastor appears in court on child molestation charges

Attorney for Ken Adkins accuses district attorney of denying due process

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A controversial Southeast Georgia pastor who was arrested Friday on child molestation charges appeared in Glynn County court Monday.

Kenneth Adkins, 56, was read his charges and then told a bond hearing would have to be set by a Superior Court judge.

Adkins, who is charged with one count of aggravated child molestation and one count of child molestation, is expected to have a preliminary probable cause hearing Friday, at which the state must present enough legal evidence to keep Adkins in jail on the charges. If the state can't provide that evidence, a judge can dismiss the case.

Adkins, who is pastor of the Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship, has been in jail since he turned himself in at 9 a.m. Friday in Glynn County.

A young man who used to be a member of Adkins' church told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that Adkins molested him in 2010 when he was under the age of 16. A GBI agent told News4Jax that several incidents of molestation were alleged to have occurred at the church, in a vehicle and at the victim's residence. The Brunswick Judicial Circuit asked the Brunswick police to assist in the investigation, which began Aug. 12 and is ongoing.

Adkins' attorney, Kevin Gough, said he has tried to subpoena the young man to appear at Friday's hearing, but the District Attorney's Office has made that very difficult by not providing the information that Gough needs to serve the subpoena. He said that violates Adkins' due process rights.

“They are withholding the address and contact information for the victim, and without it the defense cannot issue a subpoena,” Gough said.

The DA doesn’t have to provide the victim's address, but in order to allow the defense due process, the DA's office is supposed to deliver the subpoena to the victim on behalf of the defense. Gough said that when he attempted to drop the subpoena off Friday, the DA refused to take it. He said it was still sitting on a desk Monday morning with a note attached that said, “Do not touch.”

“I shouldn't have to assault you with a subpoena, particularly when you're a state officer with prosecutor power,” Gough said. “I shouldn't have to commit a criminal act to validly serve a subpoena.”

A representative in the DA’s office told News4Jax that Gough did deliver something to the office but that it did not meet standard protocol. The district attorney was not available for comment.

“This is a very serious matter,” Gough said. “The defense is entitled to due process. One of the hallmark elements of due process is the subpoena power. If you withhold the information for the defendant to exercise a subpoena, and you refused to accept a subpoena and serve it yourself, if only the privacy of the victim is your concern, then what you've done is -- it's supposedly a fair hearing, but only one side is allowed to bring evidence.”

Gough said Monday that he took Adkins' case pro bono.

“I have known Ken Adkins for many years. I've represented him in the past. I don't agree with a lot of the things that he does. I don't agree with a lot of the things he says, but everybody is entitled to representation, and I just think it's a practical matter,” Gough said. “He's going to have a real hard time finding any counsel. And I don't have any faith in the ability of the public defender’s office at this time to provide representation for him.”

In Georgia, aggravated child abuse is considered a capital crime. While the death penalty is not considered likely, Adkins could face up to life in prison if convicted.