The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that two of the men caught in a sting operation to catch people seeking underage prostitutes were ministers of local churches.
Knoxville’s Jason Kennedy, 46, was a minister at Grace Baptist Church in Karns, but he wasn’t fired until after the charges were revealed by the TBI, according to WBIR.
“Jason was a guy that talked so much about his wife and how much he loved her, and she talked about how she loved him and their three children. I mean, they were a great family,” Senior Pastor Ron Stewart said about the alleged child pedophile.
“The actions of the children’s pastor for which he has been arrested were part of his life outside the church,” the church said in a statement. “We have received no questions or concerns related to his conduct within the church or its ministries.”
Kennedy was one of 32 people arrested in a Knoxville human trafficking operation. He responded to ads soliciting sex for an hour with two prostitutes under the age of 18. One of the girls was 15-years-old.
“We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them,” the church said.
Zubin Parakh, 32, is the pastor at LifeHouse Church, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. The church lists him as the “creative pastor.” He was arrested along with Kennedy at the Best Western in Knoxville.
Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’
Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.
Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.
"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."
Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies
A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.
"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.
Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."
"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.
Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate
Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.
The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.
But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.