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Church Investigations

Convicted Sex Offender on the Run for 20 Years Caught Ministering at Church in Alabama

A convicted sex offender on the run from Indiana since 2001 has been found and arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, where he had served as a music minister at a church for 10 years.

Larry Albert Flake, 75, was charged 20 years ago with the 1999 assault of a 15-year-old girl in Richmond, Indiana, near the Ohio border.

Flake, a repeat offender, failed to show up for his trial and was convicted in his absence of sexual conduct with a minor and sentenced to 25 years in prison, AL.com reported. A charge of rape was dismissed in a mistrial.

The fugitive was living in Birmingham under an assumed name, Larry White, and was known locally as the Rev. White of True House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church, an FBI spokesman said.

Police officials said they received a new lead in the case in January 2021 that led to them finding Flake.

“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, which gives closure to this 20-year-old case,” Capt. Curt Leverton of the Richmond Police Department said in a social media post.

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Pastor Willie Perry of the House of Prayer called Flake “a good liar” and told WSFA-TV the man he knew as Larry White kept to himself.

Perry said finding out about the music minister’s past criminal history after 10 years was “heart wrenching.”

He said he received references from at least two churches before hiring Flake but said he would “triple check” the background of anyone he hires in the future.

“Trust but verify. I apologize to this body of Christ and this congregation. It should not have happened,” Perry said.

“You had somebody in the midst of your congregation that had no character at all.”

Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.