A anti-gay Christian pastor who said victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting got “what they deserve” faces charges of molesting a young male member of his congregation.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Ken Adkins, 56, on one count of aggravated child molestation and one count of child molestation on Aug. 26. He’s currently being held at the Glynn County Jail.
A special agent told The Florida Times Union that the investigation is focused on molestations that allegedly occurred at Adkins’ church, in a vehicle and at a victim’s home.
On June 16, Adkins 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!!” The tweet has since been removed and Adkins’ Twitter account is now private.
Adkins has a history of anti-gay activism. He opposed expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to include LGBT people. Adkins posted crude cartoons on Twitter of people who backed the expansion, including one depicting pro-expansion officials in a bathroom stall.
The anti-gay pastor is also an outspoken supporter of the North Caroline “bathroom bill,” which forces transgender people to use public facilities designated for their birth sex rather than their sexual identity.
Adkins also has a history of public controversies. Last month a Georgia Court rejected Adkin’s latest bankruptcy filing and accused him of perjury in relation to the case.
Still, Adkins holds influence in Jacksonville and south Georgia politics. Florida Politics reported that the city’s chief financial officer tapped the pastor as part of his campaign team when he ran for mayor in 2006. A judicial candidate paid Adkins for consulting his campaign; Adkins and others in his faith community hurled charges of racism at the candidate’s opponent.
The June 12 attack on Pulse nightclub, which served a primarily LGBT clientele, was the largest mass shooting in the nation’s history. Gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured another 53 before he was shot and killed by local police.