The Rev. Stan Archie resigned Friday as the president of the Missouri State Board of Education, two days after a lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court accusing him of child sexual abuse.
The resignation was announced in a news release from Gov. Jay Nixon's office, saying Nixon had accepted it Friday afternoon.
"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."
Nixon said he would "be moving forward with consideration of a new appointment to this board."
Archie is co-founder and senior pastor of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church at 4509 Troost Ave. The lawsuit is the second in a year alleging sexual misconduct against the pastor.
In his resignation letter to Nixon, Archie said that "while I had hoped to avoid such actions, the recent lawsuit filed against me and our church family has the potential to cause distraction from our endless efforts to allow Missouri's educational system to be among the top in the nation."
"Let me be clear, I categorically deny the allegations made against me and the church and believe that eventually the truth will come out and that both the church and I will be exonerated of all allegations. However, I do believe 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."
Archie was appointed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt in 2006 to represent the Fifth Congressional District on the eight-member board. He began his term as board president this month.
Archie told The Kansas City Star that he spoke with the other board members before deciding to step down.
"We have had a number of conversations to think through the best course of action," he said. "This is an unnecessary distraction, and while I'm innocent of all of this stuff, I can't let this get in the way of the things we're doing with the board.
"The decisions we make are too critical to have questions come about as a result of any one person on the board. Our kids have to come first. That's why I was there in the first place."
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education declined to comment Friday on the resignation.
The latest lawsuit, filed Wednesday by a Kansas City area woman identified as Jane Doe DL, accused Archie of committing repeated acts of sexual misconduct against her beginning when she was 15 and went to him for counseling.
Throughout the process, the lawsuit alleged, Archie told the girl that he was her pastor, assured her that they were doing nothing wrong and said that he was providing spiritual and emotional counseling.
When the girl ended the relationship with Archie in 2010 or 2011, the lawsuit said, he told church members that she was a liar and had mental problems.
The earlier lawsuit, filed in January 2012 by a woman identified as Jane Doe LK, accused Archie of inappropriate sexual conduct with the woman, who was his former assistant and a member of his church.
The lawsuit said that the woman became Archie's assistant in 2000. The two became involved in a sexual relationship that developed from counseling sessions Archie held with the woman after she revealed to him that she had been sexually abused as a child, the lawsuit alleged. When she ended the relationship in 2007, the lawsuit said, Archie began a campaign of harassment and defamation against her.
Both lawsuits also name Archie's church as a defendant, saying it knew or should have known about his alleged propensity to use his position to have access to women.
Archie is married and has three children. He also serves as board chairman of the Kansas City Leadership Foundation and is owner and principal consultant of Successful Edge Consultants.