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Columbia pastor speaks out after being accused of attacking woman

UPDATE 11/9: Lawson sent his resignation in to Youth Empowerment Zone on Wednesday.

ORIGINAL STORY: Lorenzo Lawson, director of the Youth Empowerment Zone, has been placed on administrative leave after he was accused of domestic assault on Halloween night.

The assault allegedly happened in the 700 block of Demaret Drive. A woman told deputies Lawson assaulted her outside her home. The woman is Lawson’s son’s mother, with whom he admitted to having an extramarital affair.

Lawson told ABC 17 News in his first television interview after bonding out of jail that the accusations aren’t true.

“I would never touch her and no other woman or no other man,” Lawson said. “I’m totally against violence.”

Lawson told ABC 17 News he saw the woman briefly earlier in the day but never went to her home, and he said he never laid a hand on her. Lawson said on Halloween night he was at home watching the World Series and his wife would testify to him not being out that night.

“Deputies could come to my house that night and seen that my car was cold because I didn’t leave. They could have seen my car mileage meter. I didn’t go anywhere,” Lawson said.

The nonprofit organization said in a statement last week, “Pending investigation of the recent charges, the Board of the Youth Empowerment Zone, has placed Lorenzo on indefinite administrative leave.”

Lawson said if he doesn’t get charged for the allegations, it is uncertain if he would be able to return or even if he would go back.

“Youth Empowerment Zone is a baby of mine just like my son; I want to protect it,” Lawson said. “If that means I have to stay away from it ,that’s fine, because it’s very valuable to this community.”

Lawson hasn’t been charged with domestic assault. ABC 17 News called the prosecuting attorney’s office, which said it is still reviewing the case.

“I’ve been speaking against violence for 17 years. I was on the mayor’s task force against violence,” Lawson said. “These allegations attack me and my character and my organization that has helped over 1,000 young people turn their life around.”

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