KC pastor placed on leave, resigns from school board amid grooming, sex misconduct allegations

Epic Church KC in Independence, Missouri.
Epic Church KC in Independence, Missouri. | YouTube/KMBC 9

A Kansas City Assemblies of God pastor has been placed on leave and resigned from a local school board as police are investigating sexual misconduct and grooming allegations made against him, including one by a woman who says she was a child at the time. 

Epic Church KC announced Thursday that its board of directors has independently placed Lead Pastor Bobby Hawk on administrative leave pending further review of the allegations made against him in recent days. Bobby and Vanessa Hawk planted the church in 2009. 

The church has campuses in Independence, Missouri, and Pontiac, Michigan, and also operates the EPIC Center KC.

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“Our board of directors has been working diligently for the past 36 hours since allegations were made against our Lead Pastor Bobby Hawk,” the announcement reads, adding that church staff have been instructed not to engage on social media or with the news media as it works through the situation. 

“You can expect further communication from our board as we navigate through this, but we ask for your patience and your prayers as we try to honor God and His people in the way we handle these serious concerns.”

On Wednesday, Hawk also resigned as president of the Blue Spring School District’s Board of Education, a role he has held since 2022.

“It is with a profound sense of responsibility and commitment to transparency that we acknowledge the recent allegations concerning Board President Dr. Bobby Hawk. Out of respect for the important work of the Blue Springs School District, Dr. Hawk voluntarily submitted his resignation from the Board of Education,” a statement from the school board reads, according to KMBC. “The Board has unanimously accepted his resignation."

The Blue Springs Police Department confirmed Thursday that it is “reaching out to people who may be able to provide more information and investigating potential crimes.”

The department confirmed it took a report from an alleged victim, according to Fox 4, which notes that at least two victims have reached out to accuse Hawk of sexual misconduct, including one who was 12 years old at the time. 

A blog post published by 23-year-old Isabelle Davis garnered the community's attention. In it, she shared past experiences with Hawk. 

The Kansas City Star reports that the blog post describes an encounter that took place roughly a decade ago during a sleepover at his home. She accused Hawk of grabbing her hand and placing it underneath his thigh while they watched a movie. Davis alleges Hawk told her not to tell anyone about the experience.

The blog post also alleges that on two occasions, Hawk made her hold his hand as if they were dating. 

Ali Terwilliger, a 22-year-old church volunteer in 2011, told Fox 4 she was inspired to speak out after seeing Davis come forward. She said that on one occasion, Hawk touched her butt and discussed how he wanted a sexual relationship with her. Terwilliger said she complained to church leadership but eventually left the church. 

“It definitely is not an environment, at least it was not at that time, an environment where they were helping victims,” Terwilliger told the outlet. “It was more of trying to cover up what was going on with the pastor.”

Don Miller, who heads the Southern Missouri Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, told Fox 4 that the organization has an established process for dealing with allegations such as those facing Hawk and is following that process in the matter. 

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