Children’s minister among 32 arrested in trafficking sting

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee authorities say a children’s minister is among 32 people facing charges after a prostitution and human-trafficking sting in Knoxville.

News media outlets on Friday quoted Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials as saying the suspects were arrested as part of the three-day Operation Someone Like Me, during which agents posted ads on The Knoxville News Sentinel reports charges against those arrested include seven felonies and 30 misdemeanors.

The children’s minister, 46-year-old Jason Kennedy, was charged with human trafficking and patronizing prostitution. Jail records don’t say whether he has an attorney. The bureau said he works at Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville.

Operation Someone Like Me is the fifth sting in the state involving a collaborative effort between the bureau and local agencies to crack down on human trafficking.