a man sitting in the back seat of a car

A Marathon pastor facing charges for molesting a 15-year-old girl has been apprehended in Texas just four days after skipping his April 1 arraignment, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay confirmed to the Keys Weekly.

Monte Chitty, 62, will return to the Keys to face charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after being apprehended in Woodville, Texas, MCSO said in a press release.

According to the release, Chitty approached a Texas church group working with homeless residents in the area before a church member there contacted law enforcement. The release called the work of the Woodville, Texas Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service “instrumental in apprehending Chitty.”

Originally arrested March 4, Chitty is accused of providing a 15-year-old girl with an alcoholic beverage that the victim believed was spiked with something else. According to the arrest report, the victim said she lost consciousness on a couch in the library of Marathon’s First Baptist Church after drinking it, and awoke to find Chitty molesting her.

Monte Chitty’s Monroe County Sheriff’s Office booking photo. keysso.net

Previously released from jail on a $75,000 bond shortly after his first arrest, Chitty’s bond was upped to its current amount of $1.3 million after he failed to appear before Judge James Morgan. Intelligence that day suggested that Chitty had left the state of Florida traveling west in a white van with out-of-state plates.

Additional evidence presented in court that day, including recorded telephone calls during Chitty’s short stay in jail and his internet search history, gave prosecutors and detectives reason to believe Chitty would leave Monroe County.

On April 19, Chitty was booked into the county jail on new felony charges of failure to appear in court. On April 22, he remained in jail without bond.

Alex Rickert
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.