Police: Additional accusers come forward in the Rev. Strickland investigation
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
Michigan State Police identified a fifth alleged victim Friday in an ongoing investigation involving the Rev. Strick Strickland, 36. Strickland is a prominent Kalamazoo pastor and former head of the local NAACP. Strickland's wife, 25-year-old Jazmonique Strickland, also faces accusations that are under investigation.
State police Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen said Friday he expects more victims will come forward and he asked anyone with information to call the state police Paw Paw Post at 269-657-5551.
In a phone conversation with Newschannel 3, Strickland denied the allegations against him and his wife and said, "That's absolutely false." He added, "Not true at all."
Newschannel 3 first reported that Strickland was under investigation when state police raided his home on Prairie Avenue in September. Nearly five months after the investigation began, no charges had been filed as of Friday against Strickland or his wife, but several sources told Newschannel 3 the couple is accused of paying teenage boys for sex.
Christensen said Friday that investigators sat down with prosecuting attorneys that morning. The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office asked state police to do more investigative work, Christensen said. He expects the case will require a few more months of work before charges could be presented.
Strickland was named pastor at Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church in 2012 and continued to preach there as of Feb. 1. He also served as president of the Metro Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP until his term expired in January.
Jazmonique Strickland worked as a paraprofessional at Phoenix Alternative High School. Hired by Kalamazoo Public Schools in August 2013, Jazmonique's resignation letter, obtained by Newschannel 3, cites “unseen circumstances.” The resignation letter was dated Sept. 5, 2018, which was the day before state police raided the Stricklands' home.
Sources said some of the incidents under investigation occurred at the couple’s former home on Prairie Avenue, which is owned by the church.
Police would not say if any of the individuals involved in those incidents attended Phoenix Alternative High School or Second Baptist Church on North Rose Street in Kalamazoo.
In a written statement to Newschannel 3 on Friday, officials with the Kalamazoo Public Schools said:
This is an ongoing criminal investigation. We trust law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney to resolve the matter appropriately.