Indiana pastor, sex offender on the run for 20 years found working at Alabama church

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Indiana pastor who went on the run before his sexual misconduct trial in 2001 has been captured in Alabama, where he was working at a local church, authorities said.

Larry Albert Flake, 75, was arrested Nov. 19 by police and FBI agents in Birmingham, where he was using the name Larry White. Flake was a fugitive from Wayne County, Indiana, where he was found guilty in 2001 of two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

He was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison.

He is now charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, according to agents at the FBI’s Indianapolis field office.

According to police and court records, Flake was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl in November 1999 in Richmond. The documents state that the girl, who is identified only by her initials, left her apartment one afternoon to visit some friends.

Instead of finding her friends outside, she found Flake, who followed her, grabbed her and forced her into his car. The pastor sexually assaulted the girl before unlocking the vehicle and allowing her to leave.

The girl went home and told her mother what happened, the court records show. Her mother told her not to shower and called the police.

“Tests confirmed that semen recovered from A.B. originated from Flake,” an appeals court ruling states. “A.B. subsequently identified Flake from a photo array prepared by the Richmond police.”

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Flake was arrested and his trial was set for Aug. 28, 2001. He failed to show up in court.

The jury deadlocked on the rape charge but found Flake guilty of two counts of sexual misconduct. They also found him to be a habitual offender, a tag that stemmed from previous convictions of sexual battery in 1989 and child molestation in 1980.

The Richmond Palladium-Item reported that Flake was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The sentence was enhanced by another 15 years because of the habitual offender tag.

Flake’s location was unknown until authorities received a new lead in January, Richmond police officials said.

“Without the new lead and the collaboration with the FBI Indianapolis and Birmingham field offices, as well as the Birmingham Police Department, Larry Flake would not have been captured,” Richmond police Capt. Curt Leverton said in a statement.

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WBRC in Birmingham reported that Flake, under his assumed name, had served as minister of music for the past decade at the Evergreen True House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church.

The church’s pastor, Pastor Willie Perry, told the news station it was a shock to learn White’s true identity.

“It was heart wrenching,” Perry said. “I mean, you couldn’t imagine the horror of waking up and finding out that someone had this kind of checkered past.

“He’s a good liar.”