“We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them.”
Grace Baptist pastor of children’s ministry fired after arrest in sex trafficking sting. They go arrested after answering an online ad to have sex with an underage prostitute.
Kennedy, a 46-year-old children’s pastor for Grace Baptist Church, and Parakh, a 32-year-old creative pastor at LifeHouse Church, were among 32 men and women arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in an anti-trafficking operation, the agency said Friday.
Zubin Parakh – pastor
Grace Baptist Church Statement
“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.”
It said Kennedy was hired two-and-a-half years ago. Church administrators got a background check on Kennedy and it turned up no issues at the time. It did not indicate any previous problems. Church leaders believed Kennedy was a good fit because he listed a children’s pastor as a reference on his application. That pastor affirmed Kennedy had no issues in his background.
Pastor Jason Kennedy
Police report states that, Kennedy responded to a Backpage.com ad via text message. The report says Kennedy was made aware that there would be two girls present, one was 15 years old. He negotiated $100 for a half hour of sex with both girls.
He was told to go to a gas station on Merchants Road for further instructions. Then he received instructions to go to a hotel room where the girls were.
The report says he stated he wanted to have sex with both underage girls he thought were inside. He put the agreed upon $100 on the counter. He removed his pants and then law enforcement took him into custody.
“Our work is not finished. We want to make sure there is no safe place to hide for criminals who would victimize the most vulnerable among us. We want anyone answering an ad for sex to think that a TBI agent and a Knoxville Police officer may be on the other end of that line,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn.