RICHMOND, Ind. — Investigators made an arrest Friday that finally gave closure to a 20-year-old case out of Richmond, Indiana.
Larry Albert Flake was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor on Aug. 30, 2001. The charge stemmed from an incident that was reported to the Richmond Police Department in the fall of 1999.
However, Flake never appeared for trial on the day he was convicted and has been a fugitive ever since. A jury convicted him of sexual misconduct in his absence, but a mistrial was declared on a rape charge.
It wasn't until 20 years later that authorities received a new lead in the now-75-year-old's case.
The FBI and local authorities found Flake in Birmingham, Alabama, where he had changed his name to Larry White and started a new life as a music minister.
Flake spent a decade working at True House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham, according to 13News' affiliate WVTM.
"He came to us with the name of Rev. Lawrence White. Every church in Birmingham knew him as that name. Nobody knew anything about Flake," the church's head pastor Rev. Willie Perry told WVTM.
Perry said he was shocked when the news broke about Flake being a convicted sex offender.
"It really...it rocked me to find out yeah, this guy's got a checkered past. I didn't know anything about it simply because I did not research," Perry said.
In January, the FBI received a tip that Flake was hiding out in Birmingham. He was arrested Friday for the charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
The Richmond Police Department said Flake will be brought back to Indiana.
"I would say to Rev. White: 'I love you. I will pray for you. But I am glad that you have been caught. You won't get a chance to do this anymore,'" said Perry.
The pastor also had a message for his congregation as they try to process this news.
"I will never allow such a thing to happen to you in this church," he said. "I never have and I never will, as long as I am the pastor of this church."