LR pastor resigns after sex arrest

River Church leader, life coach charged with assault of boy, 15

— A Little Rock pastor arrested Thursday on accusations he had oral sex with a 15-year-old boy he met online resigned Friday from the church he headed, according to a statement posted on the church’s Web site.

Police arrested Shane Anthony Montgomery, 42, of 12716 Valleywood Drive on a charge of fourth-degree sexual assault, a felony, according to a Little Rock Police Department arrest report.

Montgomery resigned Friday from his role as lead pastor at The River Church in Little Rock a day after he admitted to detectives that he met the boy several times online and face to face before performing oral sex on the 15-year-old.

“The River Church and her leadership is shocked and saddened by the news of this event involving our former ... pastor who has resigned effective today,” the statement said. “We want to express our deep concern to the teenager andhis family and are prepared to provide outside, professional counseling to this family as they cope.”

In the statement, church leaders said they intend to “fully cooperate” with police as they investigate Montgomery. The statement said the church “had nothing more to add” Friday.

On Thursday evening, the church’s Web site gave a brief biography of Montgomery in which he is identified as a “certified life and financial coach.” The page linked to his Facebook page, where he was listed as having more than 1,400 online friends.

The church’s Web page hassince been pulled down. The Facebook page was unavailable to public viewing Friday.

In the past few years, Montgomery has been featured in print and broadcast outlets in Little Rock.

In April, he attracted attention when he led an Easter service at the Revolution Music Room in Little Rock’s River Market. An Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article about the service identified Montgomery as one of the Little Rock church’s founders.

Montgomery has also appeared as a regular guest on KTHV-TV, Channel 11’s This Morning broadcast, where he gave financial advice for morethan a year.

From April 2008 to Sept. 2, Montgomery wrote an unpaid column for Sync, a weekly publication of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. He also wrote four paid freelance articles in September and October for the magazine’s “Turning Point” section. The section focuses on people or families in tough circumstances who decided to change their lives.

In an e-mail, Montgomery referred questions about the charges to North Little Rock defense attorney Stuart Vess, whom Montgomery identified as his attorney.

A message left at Vess’ office after business hours Friday wasn’t returned.

E-mails to church leaders weren’t returned Friday.

Montgomery was released about 8 p.m. Thursday from the Pulaski County jail on $2,500 bond.

Arkansas, Pages 15 on 12/12/2009