Fugitive Florida Pastor, Accused of Sexually Abusing Teen Girl, Caught in Texas

The Roys Report [Chicago IL]

April 10, 2024

By Liz Lykins

A fugitive pastor has been caught in Texas, just days after he fled prosecution in Florida on charges he sexually abused a 15-year-old girl.

Monte Chitty, 62, was taken back into custody last Friday in Woodville, Texas, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook announcement.

Chitty, pastor at First Baptist Church in Marathon, Florida, is accused of getting a girl drunk and assaulting her on church property, The Roys Report (TRR) previously reported.

Chitty faces charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in the Florida Keys, the sheriff’s office said.

After being released on a $75,000 bond, Chitty failed to appear at a scheduled arraignment on April 1 and went on the run, according to the sheriff’s office.

A Texas church group was critical in apprehending the fugitive pastor, the sheriff’s office reported. Chitty approached the church group while they were working with the homeless and a church member recognized Chitty. The member then contacted local law enforcement.

Chitty is now being held on a $1.3 million bond, the sheriff’s office said.

Chitty was first arrested after an anonymous caller alerted police of the alleged sexual assault, TRR reported. The caller said he had overheard a teen girl tell an adult that she had been raped.

As deputies attempted to find the victim, police received a call from Chitty, the Sheriff’s Office reported. In what police suspect was an attempt to “get ahead” of the allegations, the pastor claimed that a girl at his church had been drinking and had passed out on a couch in the church library. He said he helped her to lie down on the couch but did not touch her after that.

When police found the girl, she said that Chitty gave her alcohol that she suspected was “spiked” with something. After drinking it, she said she lost consciousness. She said she woke up to discover that Chitty was sexually molesting her.

Police said they discovered incriminating texts against Chitty on both his and the girl’s phone. Chitty sent texts that made references to having sexual relations with the girl while she was impaired.

Chitty Allegedly Had “Immoral” Behavior In His Past

Since Chitty’s Florida arrest made headlines, members at a church Chitty led in Alaska have begun speaking about “immoral” behavior the pastor had while there, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Chitty served as a pastor in Cold Bay, Alaska, in the 2010s, the news station reported. The town was so tiny that nearly everyone in it attended Chitty’s church.

In 2012, troubling messages between Chitty and a young woman in the town became public, said Stephanie DeVault, who lived in Cold Bay then. DeVault added that the woman was living with Chitty and his family at the time.

The messages that were discovered were “immoral” but not “illegal,” DeVault said. However, they were disturbing enough that several community members got the girl a room at an inn so she wouldn’t have to stay with Chitty, DeVault added. Later, community members pitched in to get the young woman a one-way plane ticket out of Cold Bay.

“We got her out because she was scared for her safety,” DeVault said.

Stephanie said afterwards Chitty spread rumors that the girl was troubled, and her story false.

“There were people who honestly believed because he used the title ‘pastor’ there was no way he was capable of those things,” DeVault said. Chitty also served as a law enforcement officer in the area.

“He used the two safest, most trusted roles in a community,” DeVault added.

The incident with the young woman “completely tore the church apart,” former Cold Bay Mayor Candace Nielsen told the Anchorage Daily News.

After living in several other communities in Alaska, Chitty moved to Florida in 2021.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.