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Former Kalamazoo pastor Strick Strickland rejects plea deal, attorney says

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The Rev. Dr. Strickjavvar “Strick” Strickland, a former pastor, faces multiple sexual assault charges in Kalamazoo County, Michigan (WWMT/File, contributed)

A former Kalamazoo pastor charged with sexually assaulting four teenage boys, Stricjavvar “Strick” Strickland, denied a plea deal Thursday, his attorney told News Channel 3.

Attorney Mike Hills declined to provide details about the offer he said the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office proposed.

A probable cause conference in the sex crimes case against Strickland that was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, was waived and pushed until early December, Hills said.

Prosecutors charged Strickland with 11 felonies, including four counts of third-degree sexual assault, three counts of child sexually abusive activity and four counts of human trafficking of a minor for commercial sexual activity.

Investigators claim that Strickland, a former pastor at Second Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, and his wife, Jazmonique Strickland, paid teens for sex. Strickland has denied the allegations.

Church leaders voted to remove Strickland as Second Baptist's lead pastor in July 2020, nearly two years after Michigan State Police raided Strickland’s home.

Authorities said Strickland and his wife used their positions within the church and the Kalamazoo Public Schools to coerce four teen boys into having sex.

Strickland turned himself in at the Kalamazoo County Jail on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, the day after Michigan State Police declared him a fugitive. He was released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond, which means the judge allowed Strickland to be released without any deposit or collateral.

The conditions of his bond also allowed Strickland to return to his home state of Mississippi, court records show.

Hills said Strickland, a father of eight children, had been working at a horse farm in Mississippi to support his wife, Jazmonique, 28, who is pregnant with the couple’s sixth child together.

No charges have been filed against Jazmonique Strickland.

Michigan State Police said its investigation into the Strickland couple is still ongoing.