Church Says Longtime Baptist Pastor Retired After Being Accused of ‘Inappropriate Relationship’ With Female Staff Member

First Baptist Church in Gainesville, Georgia, told its congregants Monday that its longtime pastor, Bill Coates, stepped down after being accused of having an “inappropriate relationship” with a former female staff member.

Church leaders sent out an email Monday, explaining that Coates’ retirement as pastor in August came after an allegation was made that Coates engaged in a form of sexual misconduct.

The 63-year-old Coates pastored FBC, a member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, for over two decades. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is a member of the congregation.

“Dr. Bill Coates retired from the position of pastor of First Baptist Church on August 19, 2018. He voluntarily retired after learning of a report having been made in which he was accused of sexual misconduct by an adult female former member of the church staff,” the church statement reads. “Dr. Coates no longer has any affiliation with the ministries of the First Baptist Church.”

First Baptist Church Executive Pastor Kent Murphey told The Gainesville Times that Coates’ alleged misconduct with the former female church staff member occured around 2005 or 2006.

The church’s statement did not offer any denial of the allegation.

“Immediately upon receiving this report, the First Baptist Church leaders went to work to provide support for the well-being of the woman with whom Dr. Coates had the inappropriate relationship, in so far as they could, and also assure that all current staff members are properly informed, educated, and provided with renewed training for appropriate professional ethical standard,” the church said. “FBC will continue to work to maintain the highest ethical practices and the safety of its members in all ministries.”

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Source: Christian Post