Local News Spotlight

Missouri education board chief is accused of sex abuse

Updated: 2013-01-25T05:03:04Z

By JUDY L. THOMAS

The Kansas City Star

A lawsuit filed in Jackson County accuses the new president of the Missouri State Board of Education of child sexual abuse, defamation and counseling malpractice.

The civil suit, filed this week in Jackson County Circuit Court by a Kansas City-area woman identified as Jane Doe DL, alleges that the Rev. Stan Archie began committing repeated acts of sexual misconduct against the plaintiff when she went to him for counseling at 15.

Archie, who began his term as Board of Education president this month, is co-founder and senior pastor of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church at 4509 Troost Ave. in Kansas City. The lawsuit is the second in a year alleging sexual misconduct against Archie.

Archie’s actions, the lawsuit says, were “outrageous and utterly repugnant to a civilized society.”

Archie denied the allegations in a phone call to The Kansas City Star and said it was part of a scheme by former church members to discredit him.

“There’s absolutely nothing that was inappropriate with anyone, and there was nothing that was done without accountability and oversight as a part of our church structure,” he said. “This is a splinter faction from the church that was disgruntled, and in their attempt to defame us they’ll do anything possible. Their objectives are very clear: Defaming me and getting money.”

Sarah Potter, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the board had not seen the new lawsuit and had no comment.

Rebecca Randles, a Kansas City attorney who is representing the alleged victim, said she is now 23.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that the girl and her family became members of Archie’s congregation when the girl was 5. When she was 15, the lawsuit alleges, her mother sent her to Archie for counseling.

During the weekly counseling sessions, Archie began talking to the girl about sex, telling her to think of him as her “surrogate father” and that he needed to know if she ever had sex with any boys, the lawsuit alleges.

According to the lawsuit, Archie told the girl about sexual positions and about his male anatomy and made lewd comments about his sexual prowess. Archie also told the girl he had been a pimp “and ran a team of girls.”

While the girl was in counseling with Archie, the lawsuit alleges, she lost her virginity and reported it to him. But instead of providing counseling, the suit says, he provided sex tips.

Afterward, Archie encouraged the girl to be promiscuous and to report her activity to him, the lawsuit alleges. She became extremely promiscuous and often described the incidents to Archie through Skype on the Internet.

By the time the girl was 17 and 18, the lawsuit alleges, Archie began calling her Princess, bought her gifts and gave her money. In 2010, the girl became pregnant and had a baby, the lawsuit says. During the pregnancy, Archie would Skype with her, telling her she was gorgeous and continuing stories about his sexual prowess. When she showed Archie a picture of her sonogram, the lawsuit says, Archie made a comment about the size of the developing baby girl’s genitals.

As the girl watched her baby develop, the lawsuit says, she began to realize that Archie’s behavior was abusive and inappropriate. The baby’s father helped her understand that she’d been “brainwashed,” the lawsuit says.

Throughout the process, the lawsuit alleges, Archie told the girl that he was her pastor, that they were doing nothing wrong, and that he was providing spiritual and emotional counseling.

When the girl ended her relationship with Archie in 2010 or 2011, the lawsuit says, he began a campaign of harassment and defamation, telling church members that she was a liar and had mental problems.

The lawsuit also names Archie’s church as a defendant, saying it had received reports of impropriety regarding Archie and knew or should have known about his propensity “to use his position of pastor to access women as part of his official duties.”

Archie’s attorney, Michael McCausland, said Archie and the church deny the allegations.

“This defamatory lawsuit is filed by the same lawyer who also filed a similar lawsuit attacking the character of Reverend Archie,” McCausland said. “These allegations are false and we expect Reverend Archie and the church to ultimately be vindicated.”

The earlier lawsuit, filed in January 2012 by a woman identified as Jane Doe LK, accused Archie of inappropriate sexual conduct with his former assistant at the Kansas City church.

According to the lawsuit, the woman became Archie’s assistant in 2000 and they became involved in a sexual relationship that developed from counseling sessions he held with her after she revealed to him that she had been sexually abused as a child. When she ended the relationship in 2007, the lawsuit alleged, Archie orchestrated a campaign of harassment and defamation against her.

That lawsuit also named Archie’s church as a defendant, saying it knew or should have known about his “dangerous and exploitative propensities” and failed to protect the woman.

McCausland said at the time that Archie and the church “adamantly deny the defamatory allegations” and called the lawsuit “an obvious attempt to extort money from Defendants.”

Archie was appointed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt to the State Board of Education in 2006. He recently served as vice president of the eight-member board and was elected as president on Nov. 27, replacing Peter Herschend, founder of the corporation that owns Silver Dollar City in Branson. This month, Archie began his term as president and Herschend became vice president.

Archie also is serving his second two-year term on the board of directors of the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Archie, who is married and has three children, serves as board chairman of the Kansas City Leadership Foundation and is owner and principal consultant of Successful Edge Consultants. He earned a degree in divinity and organizational leadership at Calvary Bible College and a master’s degree in education at MidAmerica Nazarene University.

To reach Judy L. Thomas, call 816-234-4334 or send email to jthomas@kcstar.com

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