BRUNSWICK, Ga. - The first day of testimony in the trial of controversial Pastor Kenneth Adkins on child molestation charges included graphic details of the accusations and the timeline of when the incidents occurred.
The accuser, now 22, said Adkins molested him after he joined the Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship in 2009. The prosecutor claims that 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.
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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.
"From the moment Adkins was interviewed at GBI, he immediately started using his power and influence to control, not only the witnesses in this case, but the course of this investigation," District Attorney Katie Gropper said.
Adkins, 56, made a name for himself across the region and in Jacksonville by making controversial comments opposing gay rights, but the defense warned the jury not to let the pastor’s reputation influence their opinions.
"The question is, is your dislike of Kenneth Adkins reason enough to convict him? Because the evidence will show that he committed no crime," said Adkins' attorney, Kevin Gough.
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 maintains that he is innocent of any crimes, and a plea deal offered by the prosecution was rejected by Adkins last month.
Adkins turned down a plea deal last month. Prosecutors offered Adkins a sentence of 5 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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