US pastor stole thousands from church to fund affair

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A pastor has been charged with stealing from his congregation in order to fund an affair, according to Fox2Now.

Ralph Sawyer, the former pastor of Lindsay Lane Missionary Baptist Church in Florissant, Missouri had stolen over $21,000 from his church in order to pay a 20-year-old woman with whom he had been having an affair.

Florissant Police Detective Andy Haarmann told Fox2Now that Sawyer "said he initiated a relationship with a young lady. As a result of that relationship he withdrew the funds to help continue the relationship."

He had been using the church's ATM card at a local bank to steal the money, reportedly making 35 separate withdrawals.

There were questions as to whether the mistress had been blackmailing Sawyer, but Haarmann said "it's unclear" and the woman has not been charged.

Sawyer is married with children. Haarmann said "He is devastated, just the whole incident, he's embarrassed of the incident, the shame it's brought his wife and his children. He's very remorseful."

One of Sawyer's neighbours said she was shocked, as "he's just so kind."

In a statement, church members said they are saddened by the actions of their former pastor. They have said the situation is now between Sawyer, God and the judicial process.

Lifestyle