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Strickjavvar “Strick” Strickland, pastor of Second Baptist Church (church’s website is down) in Kalamazoo, Michigan stands accused of paying teenagers for sex acts.
Reverend Strick Strickland, 36, is pastor at Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church on North Rose Street. His wife Jazmonique Strickland, 25, was a paraprofessional at Phoenix High School in Kalamazoo until she resigned last fall, one day before police executed a search warrant at the family’s home.
After a four-month investigation by Michigan State Police, several sources confirmed to Target 8 that detectives found Strickland had paid teenagers to engage in sexual acts at his family’s home on Prairie Avenue in Kalamazoo.
That property is owned by Second Baptist Church, where Strickland has been pastor since 2012.
Of the four alleged victims police have identified, one was 14 years old at the time. All were under 17.
“At this point, with everything we have done, we believe that it occurred over a period of time on more than one occasion,” MSP Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen told Target 8 in an interview Thursday.
Strickland called the allegations against him and his wife “absolutely 100 percent false” when reached by phone Thursday.
“Wow,” Strickland responded when a Target 8 investigator detailed the accusations against him and his wife.
The investigation isn’t the pastor’s first negative publicity. In an unrelated case last summer, murder suspect Donnovan Lewis told police he killed his girlfriend Aniya Mack, a Western Michigan University student, over her growing relationship with Strickland, her pastor.
Christensen of MSP said while the investigation is ongoing, detectives have turned over their findings to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting, who will make a charging decision. Getting declined to comment on the case Thursday.
An August 2018 WWMT-3 news report alleges that Strickland had a sexual relationship Aniya Mack. Mack was later murdered by her boyfriend, Donnovan Lewis. Strickland released the following statement, denying the allegations against him:
All of the things that I am being Accused of are ministry related!
1. Second Baptist under my leadership has helped more than 30 families with transportation barriers Aniya’s situation was no different.
2. We have shared thousands of dollars of resources to help members with rent, utilities, food…
3. The All Expenses Paid trip was a choir trip with 50 other people. This trip was also all expenses paid for all College Students of which there was 6-8 more! Who all shared rooms together. My family wife and kids where with us…
lastly, this is an attempt to discredit the church, the NAACP, and the black leader. However, I’m not running from this story. I am rather trying to be sensitive to the source of your information (A young man I don’t know at all. Who has killed his ex-girlfriend and is declaring himself insane!) his family deserves peace and my response to the propaganda will only disrupt their peace!
Ultimately and finally, I have no control over people’s dreams and feel that it is extremely unfair that I be held accountable for was a person thinks or imagines is happening!
In this particular case we have a young man who has confessed to murder and I’m sure that had I been a white leader here in Kalamazoo that would be no story especially based solely upon the word of a confessed killer and self-proclaimed insane suspect.
Aniya Mack’s memory deserves to be left in tack! Here is a young lady that has already lost her life and future and now she is being denigrated to nothing more than her pastor’s mistress! That’s the biggest injustice of all!
Stickland’s church bio page (a cached copy) says:
Pastor Strick Strickland succeeds Rev. Matthew W. Wright as pastor of Second Baptist Church and was elected January 22, 2012. Strickland has been preaching since age 19, a year after he got saved. He says that although he grew up in the church in Warren Hill, Mississippi, he didn’t really accept Christ until age 18. Apart of what helped him make his decision in the end was seeing his peers struggle on the streets where he grew up. In fact, he mentions that he had strayed away from church for a while. He got into trouble and landed in an alternative school. However, even there he excelled academically and tested in the top 5 percentile of students across the nation. He was in a gang and was labeled “Expected to fail”. Thus, Pastor Strickland’s story is one of how God is still a God of miracles, even today.
When asked how he knew he was called to preach, he replied, “Because it was the last thing I wanted to do”. He says that it was not only that he didn’t want to preach, but it was also that he didn’t relish the lifestyle of a preacher.
Prior to accepting the position as Pastor at Second Baptist Church, Pastor Strickland pastored at Pen Oak Missionary Baptist Church from 2005-2008, then went on to lead Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Collins, Mississippi. Second Baptist Church and the city of Kalamazoo hopes this is the beginning of a long stay at Second Baptist. Prior to accepting the position as Pastor at Second Baptist Church, Pastor Strickland pastored at Pen Oak Missionary Baptist Church from 2005-2008, then went on to lead Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Collins, Mississippi. Second Baptist Church and the city of Kalamazoo hopes this is the beginning of a long stay at Second Baptist.
Pastor Strickland is also a national recording artist and the lead singer for a group called the True Believers. We hope that through his preaching and singing many souls will be won for the Kingdom of God. Since his election at Second Baptist Church, he has been involved in the Spiritual Awakening Services at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the Jump Start Revival at his church, and spoke on 95.5 FM radio. As a young pastor, this is an example other young people that want to become pastors, ministers, singers or entrepreneurs can learn from.
Pastor Strickland relocated to Michigan, while most of his family lives in Mississippi where he was raised by his grandmother as an only child. His grandmother was a spiritually-oriented woman who helped him with his homework every night. He was in junior high school when he found out that his grandmother could not read or write. The way Strickland learned, however was heeding her advice to “sound out the words”. His mother Ida M. Turner resides in Joliet, Illinois along with his uncle, aunt, and a host of other relatives. Strickland says he is excited to be closer to his mother as he is her only child and she is his biggest fan.