The Rev. Kenneth Adkins stood unrepentant after Glynn County Judge Stephen Scarlett read his sentence, declaring that he did nothing for which he was convicted, nor even knew the victims in his child molestation trial at the time accused.
“I’m not going to let this moment define me,” Adkins said.
But that does not change what he faces — the real possibility of the end of his natural life occurring in state prison.
Adkins, 57, for three counts of aggravated child molestation, received three concurrent sentences of 35 years confinement, with the balance of his life sentence served on probation. That would make Adkins 92 years old by the time he walked free.
On the two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, he received 30 years confinement each. For the three counts of child molestation, he received 20 years. All of the sentences are to run concurrently, however.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper asked Scarlett for a life sentence on the aggravated child molestation counts, but advised the judge that he had discretion as to how much of that sentence was to be served in prison and how much probated or suspended.
Gropper said the evidence showed there was an “extensive scheme on the part of Mr. Adkins to victimize these youths” over an extended period of time.
In a victim impact statement read before the court, A.J. — Adkins’ main accuser, who was said to be 15 at the time the molestations began — said he suffered shame, guilt and depression following the encounters with Adkins, leading him to contemplate suicide.
A.J. said in the statement he felt Adkins was the closest thing he ever had to a father.
“I felt like if I said anything, I would be betraying him,” A.J. stated.
Following the sentence, Adkins’ attorney Kevin Gough submitted a motion for a new trial, based on ineffective assistance of counsel. He subsequently also tendered a motion to withdraw as counsel, with the next step to be taken by the Brunswick Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office.
As the hearing concluded, Adkins shook his attorney’s hand, and Glynn County Sheriff’s Office deputies escorted him out of the courtroom and back to the Glynn County Detention Center, en route to beginning his sentence.