*Hat Tip: Cynical Princess
Thirty-two men and women were arrested after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation led an anti-trafficking operation on Friday the agency says. Two of them were white pastors in Knoxville, Tenn. — one, a children’s pastor.
Jason Kennedy, 46, who held the role of children’s pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, and Zubin Parakh, 32, who is listed as the creative pastor at LifeHouse Church, were both nabbed in the undercover investigation.
According to a police report Kennedy had agreed to pay $100 for a half hour with two girls, one of whom was 15. Kennedy faces patronizing prostitution and trafficking charges — and could land in prison for up to 60 years.
Kennedy has lost his job at Grace Baptist Church as a result of the investigation. A statement from the church reads:
“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.”
According to police, Zubin Parakh, a pastor at LifeHouse Church, responded to a Backpage.com ad seeking to engage in sex with an undercover agent whom he believed was only 17 years old. He is also charged with trafficking.
The operation resulted in 32 arrests with multiple men charged with patronizing and promoting prostitution. Five women were charged with prostitution, according to police.