A Little Rock pastor steps down after police say he had inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old boy. Members of The River Church, which recently ran "bar church" this past Easter Sunday
, say they're saddened by the news. Police are investigating 42-year-old Shane Montgomery.
The pastor made headlines earlier this year when he held church services at a Little Rock bar. Now, he faces charges more controversial than that concept.
"We choose to listen to the people that Jesus called us to reach," Montgomery said in a pre-Easter interview with FOX16 News.
The former pastor of The River Church is facing felony assault charges. A 16-year-old boy told investigators the former pastor sexually assaulted him when he was 15 years-old. Some of the details are too graphic to repeat.
According to police, Montgomery admits to oral sex and fondling the teenager, but denies any other allegations.
"The touching and oral, that's just as bad as going the whole way in my opinion," said Cynthia Bonds. "A 15 year old is still a child."
Many of the people we shared the news with were at a loss for words.
"Not only that it happened, but that he admitted that it happened,” Paula Butler said in shock.
Friday, The River Church issued a statement saying its members are remorseful for the situation and want to help the victim's family in the "healing process."
"That's where you’re supposed to be safe, with a pastor," Fannie Lester said.
We visited Montgomery's home for comment. No one answered the door.
"In his position, think of all the people that he let down,” said David Gruber.
Staff at The River Church say they are prepared to offer professional counseling to the victim and his family as they get through this situation. Montgomery resigned from his role as pastor Friday.
According to police, Montgomery and the teenager met online before meeting in person this past summer. Police arrested Montgomery on Thursday. He's charged with fourth degree sexual assault, which is a felony. Montgomery bonded out of the Pulaski County jail Thursday night on a $2,500 bond.