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Florida pastor arrested for sexual battery of a minor

MARATHON, Fla. (BP) – A Florida Keys pastor was arrested Monday (March 4) for sexually molesting a minor. The incident happened on church property.

Monte Lavelle Chitty, 62, was charged with sexual battery of a minor, lewd and lascivious conduct and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Chitty is pastor of First Baptist Church of Marathon, Fla., which reported average worship attendance of 15 people in 2023.

In a statement released Monday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said it received an anonymous call from a person reporting they had overheard a girl say she’d been raped.

“As deputies attempted to find the victim, communications officers received a second call from the suspect, Monte Chitty …,” the statement said. “Chitty said he believed he was about to be accused of something and he wanted to get ahead of it. He said a young girl at his church had been drinking and had passed out on a couch in the library of the church. He said he helped her to lie down on the couch but did not touch her after that.”

When deputies located the girl, 15, she told them Chitty gave her a drink she believes may have been spiked and she began to feel weak and lost consciousness. When she awoke, Chitty was molesting her, she reported.

In both the girl’s and Chitty’s phones, detectives found messages in which Chitty alluded to sexual acts against the girl. He was booked in the Monroe County Detention Center.

If you are/have been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect sexual abuse by a pastor, staff member or member of a Southern Baptist church or entity, please reach out for help at 202-864-5578 or [email protected]. All calls are confidential.

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