Maplewood pastor takes stand, denies allegations he abused 2 young relatives
ST. PAUL -- A Maplewood pastor accused of sexually assaulting two girls emphatically denied the allegations in court Tuesday and described his relationship with the girls, now teens, as "beautiful." Jacoby Kindred Sr., 61, took the stand in Ramse...
ST. PAUL -- A Maplewood pastor accused of sexually assaulting two girls emphatically denied the allegations in court Tuesday and described his relationship with the girls, now teens, as “beautiful.”
Jacoby Kindred Sr., 61, took the stand in Ramsey County District Court as the sole witness to testify in his defense in the case pending against him.
The husband and father is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Prosecutors say he assaulted a 14-year-old girl and her 16-year-old sister over several years, starting when the girls were about 6.
The alleged misconduct included fondling, oral sex and penetration and reportedly took place at Kindred’s homes, a Target parking lot and during stops Kindred made while taking the girls to school.
The girls are relatives of Kindred’s.
Their mother reported the alleged abuse last July after her daughters disclosed it.
While acknowledging the girls did occasionally sleep over, Kindred said his wife was always home at the time and insisted the only stops he made while driving either girl to school was to a McDonald’s to pick up breakfast.
“I have never touched them in any kind of sexual or inappropriate way,” Kindred said, adding he viewed the children, “just like family.”
He believes they turned against him at the behest of their mother, who he said had a falling out with Kindred’s son and was upset she’d been financially cut off from the family.
“You hate (the mother), is that correct?” prosecutor Shereen Askalani asked during cross-examination.
“I love (her) … I hate no one,” Kindred said.
Earlier in the proceeding, he told his attorney, Gary Wolf, how he became a pastor.
He was ordained in 2007 through Sarah Family Ministries in St. Paul after he attended a yearlong program sponsored by the nonprofit. He had previously worked as a performer.
No one from the nonprofit could be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.
He now serves as pastor of One Accord Ministries, a non-denominational church he runs out of the five-bedroom home he shares with his wife in Maplewood.
Kindred also described the close relationship he’s shared with his wife of 33 years and the love he has for his four children and many grandchildren.
He denied claims by the girls in court that he bought them gifts in return for sexual favors or threatened their lives to keep them from reporting his behavior.
The only gifts he gave out, he said, came from him and his wife for Christmas or birthdays, a practice he said was extended to all family members.
During another line of questioning from Wolf, Kindred said police never searched his home or cellphone to try to corroborate the claims against him.
If asked, he said he would have happily allowed it.
“I have nothing to hide,” he said.
During her cross-examination, Askalani pointed out Kindred had a lot of time alone in his home while his wife attended her day job.
During earlier testimony, one of the girls said Kindred told her he needed to have sex with her to release a demon inside him. He also reportedly said a doctor told him he had too much sperm built up in his body and needed to get it out to save his life.
The defense rested its case after Kindred’s testimony.
The jury will hear attorneys’ closing arguments and get instructions for deliberations Wednesday.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.