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Sunday, May 22

Grace Baptist Church children's pastor Jason Kennedy arrested for seeking sex with underage girl

Two Tennessee pastors arrested for seeking sex with underage girl

BY CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sr. Pastor addresses youth pastor's arrest

WVLT - Knoxville, TN

Two men of God were arrested for seeking sex with a young girl instead of tending to the souls of their flocks.

Jason Kennedy and Zubin Parakh were nabbed in an undercover sting operation in Knoxville, Tenn, 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.

A police report from Kennedy’s arrest seen by WVLT said that he had agreed to pay $100 for a half hour with two girls, one of whom was 15.

Two Tennessee pastors have been arrested in a prostitution sting — including LifeHouse Church creative pastor Zubin Parakh.

The Baptist preacher was fired from his position and now faces patronizing prostitution and a trafficking charge that could land him up to 60 years in prison.

“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,” Kennedy’s church said in a statement.

It added that a background check had been done on him before he arrived two-and-a-half years ago, and said that it was praying for the pastor’s family.

(KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)(KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

Grace Baptist Church children's pastor Jason Kennedy (left) and Parakh (right) were both charged with patronizing prostitution and trafficking.

A cached page on the Grace Baptist website said that the man of the cloth is married and has three children.

Parakh, was also charged with trafficking, and like Kennedy, remained in custody as of Saturday morning ahead of hearings on May 31.

The fate of his job was not immediately clear, though his group distanced itself by saying he was only a volunteer.

Grace Baptist Church said that had conducted a background check on Kennedy, and that it had not received any reports of wrongdoing.

(WBIR NEWS/NBC)

References to him were stripped from his parish’s website, which had listed him as a pastor.

A previous page on the church’s site seen by KGW said that he was gifted at music and “committed to seeing lives changed.”

His social media profiles also showcased a number of performances where he sang about God’s love.

TBI’s “Operation Someone Like Me,” the anti-trafficking sting that led to their and others’ arrests made ads on Backpage.com that attracted more than 300 contacts, including more than 24 for an underage listing.

Among the 32 people arrested were men charged with patronizing or promoting prostitution and five women charged with prostitution. 

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