Updated 4:49 p.m.
Controversial conservative Pastor Ken Adkins was arrested and charged with child molestation relating to an incident in 2010, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations announced Friday.
Adkins, a Brunswick, Georgia, pastor known for his political consulting in Jacksonville, was a big opponent of attempts by LGBT activists to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the River City’s anti-discrimination Human Rights Ordinance.
Adkins made numerous inflammatory comments during the city council debate over the issue.
He’s also tweeted, as reported by FloridaPolitics.com, that homosexuals "got what they deserved” following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, prompting stern criticism from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
In response to the news of Adkins’ arrest, the mayor sent WJCT this statement:
“I know nothing more about the allegations than what has been reported in the news, but it sickens me. If he is found to have done what he stands accused of, he deserves the fullest punishment the law allows,” Curry said.
Adkins was included on a panel debating the pros and cons of HRO expansion last year. It was part of a series of “community conversations” Curry set up to weigh the issue before deciding expanding the ordinance wasn’t needed.
Recently, he’s been a key behind-the-scenes organizer of black pastors against embattled Jacksonville Judge Mark Hulsey who's alleged to have made racist comments.
Adkins received a payment from Hulsey’s opponent, attorney Gerald Wilkerson.
Georgia investigators said Adkins turned himself in willingly Friday morning and the investigation is ongoing.
At a news conference Friday afternoon in Brunswick, Adkins’ attorney Kevin Gough told reporters he was contacted Thursday by the pastor after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Gough said that the charges seemed suspicious and he was confident Adkins would be cleared.
“Warrants say that these events took place in 2010 and that’s a long time. We don't know why they’re coming up now,” Gough said. “We’d like to think that these charges or their timing isn’t politically motivated, we’d certainly hope not and we’re not saying they are. But given his past and his very vocal public positions on various issues, it’s obviously a concern.”
Gough said he’s filing motions for bond and a preliminary hearing, but doesn’t expect Adkins to be before a judge until early next week.
A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent told our news partner, News4Jax, the incidents of molestation were alleged to occur at the church, in a car, and at the victim’s home.
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Editor's note: This article has been updated with information from a news conference in Georgia and the audio version of the story.