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Married pastor, 57, with 10 children who called gays 'sinners' after Orlando shooting is convicted of making 15-year-old boy and girl have sex in front of him before joining in
Pastor Kenneth Adkins, the Georgia pastor who said that the victims of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, got what they deserved for being gay, has been sentenced to life for aggravated child molestation.
On Tuesday, Adkins was sentenced to serve at least 35 years in prison and will spend the rest of his life on probation. For every additional charge, he also faces an added 20 years.
According to authorities, the investigation into Adkins alleged molestation has its focus in multiple different locations.
Adkins turned himself in last August as he faced one count of aggravated child molestation and one count of child molestation.
A married Baptist pastor who said homosexuals got 'what they deserve' after Omar Mateen massacred 49 people at a Florida gay club has been found guilty of eight charges of abuse against a teenage boy and girl.
In a unanimous decision by a Georgia jury, Bishop Kenneth Adkins, 57, of Brunswick was found guilty of molesting two members of his church congregation in 2010.
Since Adkins has a previous criminal history due to drug convictions, and because of Georgia's strict sentencing, he may never be a free man, Savannah Now reported.
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Convicted: Kenneth Adkins was found guilty of 8 counts of abuse on Monday by unanimous verdict in a Georgia court. He'd watched a pair of teens have sex then joined in, the jury heard
Controversy: Adkins became nationally infamous last year when he made a series of tweets mocking gay people after 49 people were killed in the Orlando gay club Pulse
Adkins, a drug addict-turned-PR boss-turned-preacher, was arrested in August last year, two months after he made national headlines for tweeting about the shootings at the Orlando gay club Pulse.
'Dear Gays, Go sit down somewhere,' he tweeted on June 13, the day after 49 people were killed and many more injured.
'I know y'all want some special attention. Yall are sinners who need Jesus. This was an attack on America.'
He later tweeted: 'been through so much with these Jacksonville homosexuals that I don't see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!!'
On Monday, a jury felt he got what he deserved.
Over a week of testimony, they had heard how the victim had been groomed by the firebrand preacher.
The victim, who is not being named, said that Adkins had become a 'father figure' to him after his grandfather died, but that the relationship turned sexual in 2010.
He explained how Adkins had bought him gifts and began calling him and texting him, News4Jax reported. The preacher had sent him pictures of his penis, the victim said.
Eventually Adkins told the teen that he wanted to watch him have sex with his girlfriend, to make sure he was doing it properly, the court heard.
The preacher then joined the pair in the sex acts, he said. The victim told the court he'd 'lost count' of the times the three had been involved in sexual situations in the church office, in Adkins' car, and at the beach.
Preacher: Adkins is a drug addict-turned-PR-man-turned-preacher. His prior convictions mean he may never be a free man. None of his ten children were in court for the trial
The girl in question - who was named in five of the charges Adkins was found guilty of - testified that the events had never happened.
But the prosecution claimed that the girl was under his influence.
'She's in his clutches,' said assistant district attorney Katie Gropper. 'What he has done to that girl is not only criminal, it is deplorable.'
Most of Adkins' defense was based not on denying the claims made by the victim, but on questioning whether he and the girl were actually 15 at the time, or 16.
Had the pair been 16, they would have been legally capable of consenting to sex with Adkins under Georgia law.
In his closing statements - which took an hour and 20 minutes - defense attorney Kevin Gough told the jury eight times that even if they disliked Adkins, he should not be found guilty of 'hypocrisy'.
'Where is the evidence that any criminal act took place?' he asked. 'It may be awkward at public events, church, if you return an innocent verdict, but [be] assured, you should not take that into consideration.'
None of Adkins' family - including his ten children - were present for any stage of the trial.
Retraction: Adkins had tried to retract his tweets about the Pulse shooting (aftermath pictured), saying that he was talking about a Jacksonville group he'd argued with over anti-gay-discrimination ordinance
Adkins was convicted of two counts of aggravated child molestation, five counts of child molestation, and one count of enticing a child.
He will be sentenced on April 25.
In the wake of the fallout from his Orlando tweets last year, Adkins had attempted a retraction.
Adkins, who had run a PR company in Florida prior to his time as a firebrand Georgia preacher, claimed that he was speaking only about a Jacksonville group and not gay people in general.
He had come under fire previously for gathering African-American community leaders to change human rights ordinance (HRO) that banned gay discrimination in the city, Jacksonville.com reported at the time.
'My tweet was strictly meant for the Jacksonville group that has made my life a living hell since I served on the panel and opposed the HRO,' he said.
Sentencing: Adkins will be sentenced on April 25. His lawyer did not deny the claims, but said that both teens were 16 - therefore of the age of consent in Georgia - at the time