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Records: Lifehouse church "creative pastor" intended to seduce teen near church

Published: May. 21, 2016 at 9:04 PM EDT
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A pastor at Lifehouse Church responded to ads specifically indicating he was looking for underage girls to have sex with, according to TBI Director Mark Gwyn.

Parakh was listed as a "Creative Pastor" for Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge.

According to police records, Parakh responded to a Backpage.com ad to engage in sexual activity with an undercover agent whom he believed was 17 years old.

Records show the entire incident happened within 1,000 feet of Gospels Voice Russian Church.

"Law enforcement across the state are watching and we are working together to stop anyone from trying to buy or sell a child for sex," Gwyn said.

After a three-day investigation, nearly two dozen men were arrested on charges related to human trafficking.

32 people arrested or cited, 23 men charged with trying to buy sex

Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and officers with the Knoxville Police Department worked together to arrest or cite 32 people on charges related to human trafficking. Twenty-three of those arrests were of men trying to buy sex from a prostitute.

"These are men from our community. They include an engineer, a volunteer firefighter, a landscaper, a student. These are people we work with and live with," said Gwyn.

Five women were arrested for working as prostitutes. Of those five, three accepted service from a non-profit to get out of prostitution.

"This crime is grossly protected by stereotypes that tell us it happens to certain people and certain places. Many of us like to believe that those people and those places are not here in Knoxville, Tennessee," said Kate Trudell with the Community Coalition against Human Trafficking. "This is happening right here. It's happening behind the curtain and behind closed doors. The demand comes from every single sector in our community."

Details of the investigation

During the investigation, undercover agents posted ads on Backpage.com, including an ad posing as an underage girl. Three-hundred people made contact in relation to those ads. More than two dozen people made contact in relation to the ad of the agents posed as an underage girl.

"What so many people in our community don't quite understand is that human trafficking is a demand driven crime. And that demand comes from every single part of our society, including those parts that we'd all like to believe are not part of the problem," said Trudell.

Arrest list

Michael Clayton, 43, Clinton, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Larry Quarles, 52, New Market, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Gerrado Merchant, 36, Jacksboro, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

James Perkins, 50, Sweetwater, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Greg Hensley, 44, Mascot, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Jaton Johnson, 38, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution, Simple Possession

Samuel Rivers, 27, East Point, GA - Patronizing Prostitution, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Simple Possession

Prashante Bhakta, 35, Columbus, NC - Patronizing Prostitution

James Warren, 32, Newport, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Gary Bauer, 56, Heiskell, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Nicholas Rains, 24, Maryville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Ignacio Jimenez, 38, Maryville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Patrick Douthat, 27, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Brandon Slatton, 22, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Jeffrey Sweeney, 63, Knoxivlle, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Robert Aiken, 48, Jacksboro, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Atari McNabb, 28, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Zubin Parakh, 32, Oak Ridge, TN - Patronizing Prostitution, Trafficking

Jonathan McCarthy, 30, Augusta, GA - Patronizing Prostitution

Jose Juarez, 38, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Robert Lambert, 40, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Cornelius Turner, 25, Memphis, TN - Promoting Prostitution

Jerry Rhode, 63, Kodak, TN - Patronizing Prostitution

Zachary Desha, 24, Knoxville, TN - Promoting Prostitution

Jason Kennedy, 46, Knoxville, TN - Patronizing Prostitution, Trafficking

Kelsey Martin, 23, Boaz, KY - Prostitution

Alexis Phelps, 21, Knoxville, TN - Prostitution

Shirley Henry, 23, Clinton, TN - Prostitution

Stephanie Thomas, 26, Knoxville, TN - Prostitution

Crystal Myers, 37, Knoxville, TN - Prostitution