Mid-South youth minister charged with rape arrested in Albania - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-South youth minister charged with rape arrested in Albania

Luke Cooke is accused of raping children while he was a youth minister. (Photo Source: SCSO) Luke Cooke is accused of raping children while he was a youth minister. (Photo Source: SCSO)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

A youth minister charged with rape and aggravated sexual battery was on the run for years, but is finally headed back to the Mid-South.

Sergeant Michael Keaton of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office says his office joined forces with the Memphis Police Department to close some long-standing rape cases.

Keaton says he soon came across Luke Cooke, a now 33-year-old man who left the country for China in 2007.

"When a suspect flees, they need to understand we will catch them," said Keaton. "There is going to be a mistake made on their part and that's all we need."

Officials say the charges against Cooke stemmed from allegations that he sodomized boys between the age of 8 and 12 while he was a youth minister.

Cooke had been living in China for years, but family members told police that he had moved to Morocco. He could not be extradited from either country.

Keaton says, however, Cooke made a crucial mistake at that point and took a plane to Albania. That's where Interpol stopped him. Keaton says many agencies are now working together to bring the suspected rapist back to the Mid-South.

"If you have a charge, whether or not you're guilty or innocent, handle it," said Keaton. "But if you do flee and run from your charges, we will find you."

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