Ohio pastor Anthony Haynes of the Greater Life Christian Center in Toledo, who was sentenced to life in prison last year for grooming a teenage girl to have sex with him and two other pastors, is seeking compassionate release from prison

A Toledo pastor sentenced to life in federal prison for leading a child-sex trafficking ring with two other pastors is asking for compassionate release during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Anthony Haynes, 41, the former leader of the Greater Life Christian Center, was sentenced to life in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of grooming a girl who was then 14 years old to have sex with him and then-pastors Cordell Jenkins and Kenneth Butler.

Two handwritten motions have been filed by Haynes in U.S. District Court requesting a ruling regarding compassionate release during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He filed his first motion for compassionate release Oct. 30, and a letter regarding that motion’s status was filed Monday.

Other matters were filed in federal court Monday, including Haynes’ request for an attorney to represent him and federal prosecutors filing a motion for additional time to respond to Haynes’ additional request.

Prosecutors have until Dec. 14 to file their response, and Haynes will also get the opportunity to respond by Jan. 14 before visiting Judge Bernard Friedman makes a decision.

Haynes, who is held at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer in Glenville, W.Va., cited health concerns both for himself and his elderly mother.

Haynes claims he suffers from sleep apnea, a respiratory condition, athlete’s foot, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, a sinus condition, an umbilical hernia, and diverticulitis — which is inflammation or an infection in the digestive tract — according to his Oct. 30 motion for compassionate release.

He also expressed concern about the health of his nearly 80-year-old mother, who is caring for his children. He said he wants to “be around her with great fun times and good memories of her life,” according to his motion.

“I need to see my family again not in a casket but alive,” he wrote in Monday’s filing. “My mother is old and getting older and I want to be by her side. She has been sick for a while and I just want the chance to live with her again before the lord calls her home.”

He also claims, “there are over 101 [coronavirus] cases here at Gilmer prison. Numbers are rising in the world and in the prison system and I don’t want to get the news that a family member has died because of this virus.”

According to the Bureau of Prisons, there are 20 inmates and four staff members with confirmed cases as of Tuesday.

While the prisons bureau outlined steps it is taking to reduce the coronavirus’ spread, Haynes claimed in his October request that “nothing gets wiped down after being used, there is no six feet social distance, we have officers who do not wear their masks at all.”

He asked for home confinement instead of spending the rest of his life in federal prison. If he is granted release, Haynes said he would be living with his mother.

Separately, Haynes’ stepdaughter, Alexis Fortune, has also requested compassionate release for health reasons of her own — including asthma and being overweight — that make her vulnerable to serious illness should she contract the coronavirus, her attorneys said.

Fortune previously tested positive for the coronavirus while in custody.

She requested to serve the remainder of her sentence under house arrest after she was convicted of trying to convince the victim in Haynes’ case not to testify.

Federal prosecutors recommended she continue serving her sentence in prison because she is a danger to the community, according to court records.

Judge Friedman is scheduled to consider Fortune’s motion Dec. 10.

Source: Toledo Blade