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