KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Jason Kennedy, a former children’s pastor at Grace Baptist Church made his first appearance in Knox County Criminal court.
Kennedy was arrested during a human trafficking sting operation in May 2016. The former pastor is charged with solicitation of patronization of prostitution from a minor-trafficking for commercial acts. TBI said he responded to ads for what he thought were girls under the age of 18.
In court Thursday a status date for his trial was set for May 19. The case will go before a grand jury.
Previously, Kennedy has pleaded not guilty in June 2016. He is represented Knoxville defense attorney Greg Issacs.
“Stings of this nature are typically high-pressure law enforcement operations that ensnare a lot of people,” Isaacs said. “Many of those individuals are not predisposed to commit the crimes they are swept up and later charged with, so I would encourage everyone to keep an open mind as this matter goes forward.”