KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo pastor accused of paying teens for sex is a wanted man after he failed to turn himself in Wednesday morning, police say.
Michigan State Police Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen said that Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland kept pushing back his surrender. He was initially supposed to turn himself in at the Kalamazoo County Jail Friday.
“He was then supposed to turn himself in on Monday, Tuesday and then today, which he has not done,” Christensen said. “And at this point, with the seriousness of the charges and the victims we have out there, we now consider him a fugitive. “
Strickland’s case has been assigned to the MSP Fugitive Task Force. Christensen said if police learn where Strickland is, the team will go arrest him. If he’s out of state, he’ll face the extradition process.
Strickland has been living in his home state of Mississippi since the allegations against him surfaced two years ago.
Blaming travel difficulties for the delay, his attorney Mike Hills told News 8 Wednesday that his client “is not avoiding turning himself in.”
“(Strickland) is currently living in the southern United States and has had to deal with hurricane weather and transportation issues,” Hill said. “The original search warrant was executed Sept. 6 2018. Charges were filed August 21, 2020 — not even two weeks ago.
“He is not running,” Hill continued. “He will be turning himself in very soon. He’s not running. This is going to happen.”
Strickland, 37, the former pastor of Second Baptist Church, faces 11 felony charges including counts of criminal sexual conduct and human trafficking. Authorities say he and his wife used their positions within Kalamazoo Public Schools and the church 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.
His wife Jazmonique Strickland does not currently face criminal charges.
Strick Strickland has denied the allegations.