The former pastor of a Florissant Baptist church is accused of taking more than $20,000 in church funds to pay off a woman with whom he was having an affair.

Court documents show 30-year-old Ralph Sawyer was charged last week with stealing. Authorities say the former pastor of Lindsay Lane Missionary Baptist Church began having an affair with a 20-year-old woman in March, and accessed the church's savings account to pay the woman to remain silent about the relationship.

An investigation started after the church treasurer noticed the missing money. According to court documents, Sawyer made 35 withdrawals from the account in June and July, totaling nearly $22,000.

Sawyer resigned Aug. 11 and turned himself in to police Sept. 1. He has since been released. It was not immediately clear if Sawyer has an attorney.

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