The Lauderhill Police Department has arrested and charged former pastor Ricardo Strachan with a felony count of lewd and lascivious battery on a child between the ages of 12 and 16.
Strachan, 40, is best known as the former pastor, and listed president, of Lauderhill’s Prophetic Worshipers International Church. The church was founded in Broward County in 2006, according to business records.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Strachan had sex with a 13-year-old girl in his car in the parking lot of Dillard High School 10 times and “other times he took her to a hotel.” The abuses happened more than three dozen times, according to Lauderhill police.
A warrant was issued for his arrest, Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Joy Oglesby said. Lauderhill police made the arrest on Wednesday.
The teenage girl told police she had kept the incidents a secret because she was led to believe, by Strachan, that he practiced Vodou and that something “would happen to her family,” WPLG Local 10 reported. Strachan, police say, had the girl “steal from her family in an effort to perform rituals.”
Police learned about the abuse when a cousin, noticing the teen’s odd sleeping habits and missing family items, contacted Lauderhill police. Strachan met the girl through her stepfather, who, police say, also sexually abused her, according to WPLG.
In videos posted to YouTube between 2010 and 2017, Strachan energetically preaches the word of God as followers urge him on with cries of “Go head, prophet” and other exhortations.
Attorney Lawrence Hashish told the Sentinel that Strachan denies the charges.
Prophetic church’s Facebook page was not accessible on Friday.
Strachan’s Facebook page, named Ricardo Strachan Intl Min, has just a handful of posts in August, mostly quote boxes like, “We are blessed” or “The winner are those who don’t quit. Who are you?”
Strachan is being held at Broward Main Jail with bail set at $100,000.