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Rev. Strick Strickland denies allegations at news conference

Rev. Strick Strickland denies allegations at news conference. (WWMT/Matt Loughrin)

Rev. Strick Strickland, 36, spoke out Wednesday and denied allegations he and his wife paid teens for sex.

Michigan State Police confirmed at least five potential victims have been identified during its sex crimes investigation into the pastor and Jazmonique Strickland, 25, his wife.

Several sources told Newschannel 3 that Strickland had been accused of paying teen boys to engage in sexual acts with his wife while he watched.

“It is not true,” Strickland said.

Strickland, the former president of the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is still the lead pastor at Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church and preaches on Sundays.

Strickland said, “We're sitting here saying we're prepared to respond, we're prepared to defend, but we don't have anything to really defend. We are legitimately shooting in the dark."

Mike Hills, Strickland’s attorney, said he doesn’t know what the accusations are against him.

“The press was tipped off and I believe that was for a reason, I believe the police didn’t have what they thought was enough or credible evidence moving forward,” said Hills.

MSP investigators told Newschannel 3 that the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office kicked the case against Strickland back to police and asked more investigative work be done.

“You shake the bushes as they are doing with this investigative technique, you know people that are going to come forward may well have an axe to grind against Pastor Strickland or may have something to gain from the police and or the prosecutor,” Hills said.

The attorney who plans to represent Jazmonique, if charges are filed, Don Sappanos said,

“Whatever has been in the press she denies.”

Like her husband and his attorney, Sappanos said he and Jazmonique do not know who her accusers are or what they are alleging.

“We don’t know what we’re denying,” Sappanos said.

Jazmonique, a former Kalamazoo Public Schools employee, resigned from Phoenix Alternative High School on Sept. 5. 2018, the day before state police raided the Strickland family’s home.

Strick said the investigation has been difficult for his eight children and said the real story is that MSP stole his family’s dog when troopers executed a search warrant at his home on Prairie Avenue.

“It is a tremendous thing for us and it has been something that has fragmented my children in ways that I cannot explain,” Strickland said.

Jazmonique did not attend the news conference Wednesday because she was at home with the kids, her attorney said.

Strickland said he has given out money to help the needy in the community.

“We’ve given money to everybody in this community we’ve helped some of everybody kids and adults alike. We live in a disadvantaged, impoverished community where people are suffering,” Strickland said. “So yes, we do that as the word of god instructs us to do, we share our resources, we exercise good stewardship and do the best we can to help as many people along the way and it’s very unfortunate that that’s being seen as something negative, even in light of all of this.”

Hills said he looked forward to the prosecutor denying any charges against Strickland and his wife.

“Everything he’s done is to try and improve the community, be involved with the community. He’s been involved with youth, adolescents who are in trouble and try and get them to better their lives,” Hills said.

State police expect the additional information requested by the prosecutor’s office will take two months to gather.


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Rev. Strick Strickland responded to a Michigan State Police investigation during a news conference Wednesday.

MSP detectives are investigating claims by five people. The five people say Strickland and his wife, Jazmonique Strickland, 25, paid teenage boys for sex. Troopers raided Strickland’s Prairie Avenue home in September.

Below is the full news conference:

During the conference, Strickland denied all the claims against him.

“It is not true,” He said.

Mike Hills, Strickland’s attorney, said they are unaware of any of the allegations against him and do not know who was making the allegations.

Strickland said, “We’ve given money to everybody in this community, kids and adults alike. We live in a disadvantage, impoverished community where people are suffering and we try to help people as often as we can.”

The investigation has been ongoing for months, but charges had not been filed as of Feb. 6, 2019.

Strickland said he wasn’t able to defend against the allegations because they don’t know what they are.

“We’re ready to defend, but we don’t have anything to defend. We are legitimately shooting in the dark. Every bit of information we have came from you all. I was on the phone with the Michigan State Police the day of the raid and they were telling me they couldn’t tell me anything and I got a call from one of you all on the other end telling me everything, but they were in my house telling me they couldn’t tell me anything,” Strickland said.

He said his children have been affected by the investigation, as well.

“I do know there are eight Strickland children wrapped up in this and not being considered. It has been my priority to make sure they understand this as much as possible. Preparing them for the difficulty around these types of situations and educating them, at what I would consider a very premature age, especially in light of the fact those children came home where our dog, and their closest confidant, was stolen from us by the Michigan State Police,“ he said, “Hardest part of this whole situation is having to explain that to my children. That has been the most difficult thing. To everyone else that may seem like a very small minute thing, but it is a tremendous thing for us and something that has fragmented my children in ways that I cannot explain."

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