Kalamazoo pastor accused of sexual assault, paying teens to have sex with wife

The Rev. Stricjavvar "Strick" Strickland of Kalamazoo's Second Baptist Church has been charged with 11 felonies

Kalamazoo pastor Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland thegrio.com
(Credit: MLive.com)

A pastor in Kalamazoo is alleged to have sexually abused four teenage boys and paid them to have sex with his wife.

The Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland was charged last week with 11 felonies, including four counts of human trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual activity and three counts of child sexually abusive activity, MLive reported Tuesday.

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The pastor of Kalamazoo’s Second Baptist Church in Michigan has also been charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct on a student.

The probable cause affidavit claims the incidents took place between Aug. 1, 2015- Aug. 31, 2018. The minors involved were between the ages of 15 and 17.

Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Scott Ernestes detailed the allegations in an Aug. 18 filing. He says he was contacted by two of the boys and one of their fathers with the allegations in 2018.

Two of the juveniles were students at Phoenix High School when they met Jazmonique Strickland and her husband during the 2017-18 school term. They were both allegedly paid $100 to have sex with Jazmonique as her husband watched.

Kalamazoo pastor Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland thegrio.com
(Credit: Rev. Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland)

The pastor is alleged to have also requested nude pictures of a 16-year-old boy in exchange for money and of sexually assaulting another boy and then paying him.

Strickland is also accused of coercing one of the boys to allow the pastor to perform oral sex on him when he was 17 in exchange for use of the pastor’s vehicle. A 15-year-old also claims that the pastor paid him $200 to have sex with his wife on the couple’s couch.  

An arrest warrant was issued on Aug. 21 for Strickland, 37, who has yet to turn himself in to authorities. His lawyer, Michael Hills, says that arrangements were being made for him to do so and denied all charges on his client’s behalf.

“It has been two years since these allegations first came forward and Pastor Strickland has remained in contact and available. He is not running from this,” Hills told MLive. “Pastor Strickland remains ready to turn himself in and deal with these charges accordingly.”

In February of 2019, Strickland and his attorney held a press conference to deny the accusations.

Strickland repeated his innocence after being contacted by MLive on Tuesday. He insisted the charges were “absolutely preposterous” and that he hadn’t been given any new information concerning the allegations.

He added, “All I can say for now is that we are prepared for this fight. God will prevail.”

Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Christin J. Mehrtens-Carlin stated in the arrest affidavit that Strickland used his position as a pastor and access to the school to exploit the children. She also accused the pastor of engaging in similar behavior with his ex-wife when the then-couple lived in Mississippi.

“Per the reports, the defendant and his wife would use their employment at Phoenix High School (in Kalamazoo) and to some extent, the defendant would use his work as a pastor, to find male teens to engage in sexual activity with the wife, while the defendant watched and masturbated,” Mehrtens-Carlin wrote in the bond recommendation.

Mehrtens-Carlin is requesting a $500K bond in the case. Mehrtens-Carlin also wants him not to have any contact with the alleged victims, any minors under 18, and his wife, who does not face any charges.

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Strickland’s issues with the law also extend to his church members. He’s been charged with assaulting a deacon at his church. His trial for the one misdemeanor count of assault and battery case begins on Sept. 30.

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