Kalamazoo pastor arraigned on sex crime charges

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo pastor accused of paying teens for sex turned himself in Thursday morning and was soon arraigned on 11 felony charges.

Michigan State Police said that Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland went to the Kalamazoo County Jail around 9 a.m.

At Strickland’s arraignment later in the day, Judge Richard Santoni set a $500,000 bond — but it was a personal recognizance bond, which meant Strickland would not have to post cash to get out of jail.

Santoni decided Strickland was not a flight risk, saying he had shown up for court. He also noted Strickland lives in a different state than the four people listed as victims in the case.

Strickland, 37, has been living in Mississippi, where he is originally from, and Santoni said he could return there. Strickland is working on a horse farm to support his family. He and his wife have five children and she is pregnant with a sixth.

The charges against Strickland, the former pastor of Second Baptist Church, include counts of criminal sexual conduct and human trafficking. Authorities say he and his wife used their positions within the church and Kalamazoo Public Schools to coerce four teen boys into sex. According to court documents, investigators allege Strickland paid the teens to have sex with his wife and send him nude photos between 2015 and 2018.

On Wednesday, MSP said that Strickland was a wanted man after failing to turn himself in. Strickland’s attorney said his client was “not running.” The attorney said hurricane weather and transportation issues prevented Strickland from turning himself in earlier.

At arraignment, the prosecutor requested a high bond due to the “nature and seriousness” of the crimes. If convicted, Strickland faces up to 20 years in prison.

But the defense said Strickland has been cooperative, turned himself in and no longer fills the types of roles that authorities allege he used to find victims.

Strickland has denied the allegations.

His wife Jazmonique Strickland does not currently face criminal charges.

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