TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- A 36-year-old youth pastor is charged with sex abuse of a child under the age of 12 and second degree sodomy, according to Tuscaloosa authorities.
Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit says a 14-year-old told deputies that Christopher Cody Stutts sexually assaulted her over the past 3 years. Investigators found probable cause on Monday and Stutts is now being held on $40,000 bond.
Stutts was a part-time youth minister at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham. Church leaders tell ABC 33/40 he was terminated from that position after they learned of his arrest.
Pastor Steve Potts says they are blindsided and are addressing the situation.
"The people you think would never do something like that -- may be responsible for things that may be shocking...He was just a very pleasant person, Very friendly. Not over the top. Seemed to have a heart to care for the kids...We saw no hint of this," said Potts.
Christopher Stutts also passed a criminal background check. He was hired August 2017 as a part-time youth minister. His part-time status came with limited duties. Pastor Steve says Stutts taught youth on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. He and his wife also provided activities for the children.
Pastor Steve addressed the arrest with his congregation during Wednesday night services.
"Up to this point, we have no indication of any accusations connected with his ministry here at the church," says Pastor Steve Potts. "But, we want people to know if they know of anything, to immediately report it to law enforcement and to the church and we stand ready to help with anything."
Pastor Steve Potts says the church has already offered support to the Stutts' family.
"His wife, from what she told me, was totally caught off guard by this. And they have two small children."
Pastor Potts says the incident is an unfortunate reminder to always stay alert.
"Vigilant and always on alert," he says. "Not suspicious, but being aware of every volunteer as well as staffer at church."
He says they are also praying for the victim and her family, and offer their support in helping them heal.
This story has been corrected to reflect the church's correct location, which is in Birmingham. In an earlier version ABC 33/40 misidentified the church as being in Alabaster.