Former missionary gets 58 years in prison on child pornography charges

Updated:

Loading
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A former missionary was sentenced to 58 years in prison on child pornography charges Tuesday.

Warren Scott Kennell was arrested in June after Homeland Security investigators found he uploaded child pornography online.

Kennell then admitted to producing child pornography with young girls from the Brazilian tribes he worked with.

About 17 people filed up several rows in the courtroom to support Kennel Tuesday.

WFTV found out his family has been doing missionary work his entire life.

Investigators said Kennell was a missionary for New Tribes Mission, based in Sanford.
In court, it was brought up that Kennell was born in the Brazilian jungle. His attorney and family suggested that the way he was raised and the culture he was in may have contributed to his actions.

WFTV was there as he was sentenced to 58 years in federal prison for molesting at least four girls, one as young as 12.

Reporter Karla Ray asked Kennell's father if he had anything to say.

But he declined comment.

Kennell's father asked the chief judge in court to have leniency on his son, but Kennell was sentenced to just two years less than the maximum allowed.

Ray: "I've never seen so much family show up for a court hearing. Why did you all feel it was so important to come here today?"

Father: "He's our family. We love him. We're going to support him." 

Ray: "And, you'll support him throughout his 58 years?" 

Father: "Absolutely."

Kennell cried as he spoke on his behalf to the judge, apologizing to his victims.

His family insists the now convicted child predator is a changed man and is remorseful.

Ray: "You forgive him for what he did?" 

Father: "Of course we do.  God forgives him and we forgive him."

Those victims were not able to speak out in court Tuesday because they are all in Brazil.

As part of a plea deal, Kennell waived his right to an appeal.

His New Tribes Mission biography described Kennell as a language teacher who grew up in Brazil, and is the son of missionaries. He went back to Brazil in 1994 as a missionary, according to his biography.

Previous Story:  Local missionary admitted to molestation, making child porn, officials say