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Mo. education board head facing 2 lawsuits resigns

Mo. education board head facing 2 lawsuits resigns

January 25th, 2013 in News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The president of Missouri's State Board of Education resigned Friday, two days after being accused in a lawsuit of using his position as a pastor to engage in sexual misconduct with a teenager.

Rev. Stan Archie said in his resignation letter that, "it is best for the Board and the children of Missouri that I step down at this time and allow the Board's efforts to move forward without distraction." His attorney stressed in a written statement that Archie "denies the allegations made and believes ultimately the allegations will be proven false."

Archie, who also was sued early last year by a woman alleging sexual misconduct, leads Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in Kansas City. He was appointed to Missouri's education board in 2006, and began serving as president this month.

Sarah Potter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said in an email Friday that the board of education and the department have not reviewed the lawsuit and had no comment.

The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday by a former congregant. It alleges that Archie made lewd comments about his sexual prowess after he began counseling the now 23-year-old plaintiff when she was 15.

Archie also is accused of encouraging the teenage girl to act promiscuously and report her experiences to him, often by Skype. The suit said Archie sometimes would masturbate as she told him her experiences.

The lawsuit also accused Archie of telling the plaintiff that he used to be a pimp and "that if she had been born 'back in the day' he would make her his and described what that entailed." The suit also alleges that Archie began buying her clothes, paying her rent and providing her with gifts and money when she was 17 and 18.

The suit said Archie told her he was her pastor and mentor and that nothing they were doing was wrong.

The suit also names his church, Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, as a defendant, saying it was aware of previous misconduct involving Archie and failed to supervise him.

Archie didn't return phone messages left Thursday and Friday at his home and at Christian Fellowship Baptist Church.

The first lawsuit was filed last January by a former assistant who also claimed that sexual misconduct started during counseling sessions with Archie. It said Archie found the plaintiff's "deepest vulnerabilities and began to exploit them for his own gratification" and that the pair ultimately became involved in a sexual relationship.

Gov. Jay Nixon said in a news release announcing that he had accepted Archie's resignation that he would be moving forward with consideration of a new appointment to the board.

"Strengthening our public education system is a fundamental priority of my administration, and there are several key areas to address in the coming months," Nixon said. "The State Board of Education will continue to have a crucial role in these matters, and it is important for the board to have a clear focus without distraction from its mission."