Pastor accused of sexually battering teen back in Keys jail after capture in Texas

KEY WEST (FL) [Pembroke Park, FL]

April 19, 2024

By Janine Stanwood and Chris Gothner

Clergyman became a fugitive after skipping out on court date

Marathon pastor Monte Chitty appeared sullen, with his head down, as two uniformed sheriff’s deputies led him from a van into the Key West jail Friday following his capture in Texas earlier in the month.

Chitty, 62, was originally arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on March 4, one day after deputies accused him of sexually battering a 15-year-old girl inside his church, First Baptist Marathon, located at 200 62nd St.

He posted a $75,000 bond and later became a fugitive after skipping out on an April 1 court hearing.

U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement captured him April 5 in the small town of Woodville, Texas after deputies said he “reportedly approached a Texas church group that was working with the homeless,” prompting a member of the group to call police.

Chitty refused to answer questions as the deputies led him back to jail late Friday morning.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies accused him of plying the teenager with alcohol, which she suspected had been “spiked” with something else, and said she passed out on a church library couch and later woke up to Chitty performing oral sex on her.

After the incident was reported to law enforcement — with Chitty himself accused of calling MCSO in an attempt to “get ahead” of the allegations — deputies said they found a series of graphic text messages on both the victim’s phone and his.

According to an arrest report, in the text messages, using a cat emoji, Chitty first complimented the girl’s genitals.

“I prefer you pass out after I play not before,” deputies say the pastor then texted her. “You can’t even remember what I did.”

Prosecutors said he also texted her, “Do you remember your orgasm?”

During the April court date, MCSO Detective Chris Vanhoose told the judge that in addition to texts sent to the victim, Chitty had a troubling web search history.

One search, they said, was “how to make sex for a virgin less painful.”

Another alleged search was about the combination of Ritalin and alcohol; Vanhoose said the victim was known to take Ritalin.

Recorded jail telephone calls also gave the detective cause for concern.

He said Chitty told his wife not to pay any bills and to have a yard sale to earn cash, and said it raised a red flag that the clergyman would leave the Keys.

In court, the lead detective said the clergyman has lived in 25 states where he’s worked in churches. That includes Alaska, where Chitty also worked in law enforcement in remote villages.

The Anchorage Daily News published a story about Chitty on April 5, in which residents and parishioners alleged concerning past conduct by Chitty.

That included a “2012 incident in which social media private messages between him and a young woman who’d been living with the pastor and his family became public,” the newspaper reported. “One of the messages was so disturbing that some community members got the girl a room at an inn so she wouldn’t have to stay with Chitty.”

The newspaper reports that people “pitched in for a one-way plane ticket out of (the village of) Cold Bay for her.”

Chitty has no Alaska criminal record, but is now facing multiple charges here in South Florida.

In addition to a charge of sexual battery on a minor, Chitty is facing counts of lewd and lascivious conduct and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Local 10 has been in touch with the victim’s relatives, who wish to remain anonymous.

A family spokesperson sent in a statement late Friday that reads, “We want to thank all law enforcement agencies that worked diligently to apprehend him and bring him back to face the charges against him, the news for spreading his information, and the Marathon community for all the care, love and support.”

Chitty’s bond, following his extradition, is now $1.7 million.