Senior pastor at Clarksville church arrested in Michigan on charges he raped 2 teenagers

Senior pastor at Clarksville church arrested in Michigan on charges he raped 2 teenagers
Written by Publishing Team

Clarksville, Tennessee (now Clarksville) – A pastor of a Clarksville, Michigan church has been arrested for raping two teens.

Reverend Larry J.

One of the victims was 15 and the other was 13 at the time of the incidents in August 2020, according to court records obtained by Clarksville Now.

Called for comment, Tiana Rayford, the pastor’s wife, said the allegations were false.

“People shouldn’t believe everything they hear,” she said. “There are three sides to every story. This is his side, the accused side, and God’s side. God is the ultimate judge – the one who will bring everything out.”

Investigation and arrest

In August 2021, a year after the alleged incidents and following a criminal investigation, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Rayford on two counts of rape and two counts of statutory rape with each teenager.

In late November Rayford left Clarksville for Holland, Michigan, where several family members died, and help was needed at their funerals, Tiana Rayford has now told Clarksville. While he was there, his aunt became seriously ill, and he remained to look after her temporarily, she said.

Michigan State Police said today that over the Christmas holidays, authorities have developed a potential location for Rayford’s location. Officers in Michigan worked with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to track down Rayford, and on December 22, he was arrested in Holland, Michigan, with help from a K-9 unit.

Rayford belongs to The Ship Ministries at 108 Kraft St. As of January 25, Rayford was still listed on the church’s website as “Superintendent/Senior Reverend: Reverend Larry Polo Rayford Jr.”

Tiana Rayford said the ministry is still in place, but they have halted operations until the case is over, and asked for everyone’s prayer while they’re going through this situation.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said the Clarksville Police Department assisted in the case. CPD declined to comment.

Rayford has previous criminal charges in Davidson County. In 2007, he was convicted of domestic assault. In 2016, he was accused of child abuse. This issue has been discontinued.

This article will be updated.

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