JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Councilman Tommy Hazouri didn't hold back when Action News Jax asked for his reaction to the arrest of Glynn County pastor Ken Adkins on child molestation charges.
“If he's guilty of this, not just shame on him, not just being a hypocrite, but also doing stuff that goes against the grain about what he's been preaching about,” said Hazouri.
Adkins’ controversial campaign against the expansion of Jacksonville's Human Rights Ordinance to protect the LGBT community, was waged mostly on social media.
Hazouri, who led the efforts to expand the HRO, said he nearly sued Adkins when the pastor created pornographic images, using his image, and posted them online
“You know you're not guilty until proven guilty but to me it personifies everything that he's been, his history speaks for itself,” said Hazouri.
Hazouri plans to reintroduce the HRO expansion bill at another time but said the debate should continue without Adkins.
“I don't think that Mr. Adkins' credibility meant much during the debate and it certainly would mean a lot less today,” said Hazouri.
Adkins has played a role in local politics for years, even being hired by many elected leaders who hold office now.
Adkins worked on the mayoral campaign of current Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan. Hogan was shocked to hear the news of Adkins’ arrest and said that Adkins was hired at the end of his mayoral campaign to help draw support in the black community.
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Hogan said he didn’t know Adkins well and declined to comment on-camera about the recent allegations.
According to reports, Adkins also helped former city councilman Johnny Gaffney in his campaign. These are just a fraction of the campaigns he’s worked on.
Recently, Mayor Lenny Curry selected him to serve as a panelist on the Mayor’s Community Conversation about the HRO, a selection that drew criticism from Hazouri.
“You can't trust him, he's been proven that what he has said, you know, he goes to the highest bidder,” said Hazouri.
In a statement sent to Action News Jax, Curry said “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.”
Several prominent local pastors declined Action News Jax request for comment on this story. One of them said that many pastors have cut ties with Adkins because of his aggressiveness and personal attacks on others.
That same pastor also said that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty and that he’s praying for Adkins, his family, and the alleged victim.
Cox Media Group