Children’s minister, 31 others arrested in prostitution bust
KNOXVILLE (WATE) – After a three-day investigation, Tennessee authorities arrested 32 men and women on prostitution and human trafficking-related charges.
Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the Knoxville Police Department helped in the arrests.
TBI said two of the men arrested, including Grace Baptist children’s minister Jason Kennedy, responded to ads for what they thought were girls under the age of 18. Investigators say those arrested come from every sector. “All of these people are somebody’s neighbor,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn.
During the three-day investigation, undercover agents posted ads on Backpage.com.
“Finding these people who are trying to buy Tennessee children is a priority for us,” said Gwyn. “We want anyone responding to those ads to think there may be a TBI Agent on the other end of it. We will do whatever we can to make a difference in reducing the human trafficking that takes place in