April 22, 2018

Megachurch pastor gets standing ovation after admitting 'sexual incident' with teenager

12 January 2018, 06:13 | Winifred Adams

Tennessee pastor given standing ovation for admitting to past 'sexual incident' with teen

Pastor receives standing ovation from congregation after admitting to 'sexual incident' with teenager

In his speech before the congregation, Savage did not get into specifics, but admitted to a "sexual incident" with the then-high school student when he was in college and was on staff as some type of minister at a Texas Baptist church.

Megachurch pastor Andy Savage made a confession this past Sunday at Highpoint Church in Memphis, Tennessee.

Going on, she said Savage told her not to discuss the incident with anyone.

"Until now, I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules", he said during the service, which was also streamed live online.

Ms Woodson alleges that when she went to church management, they made her feel like she was complicit in the act, told it would be dealt with my church management and that she was not to speak to anyone about what happened, but that Mr Savage had been able to go about his daily life with no apparent consequences.

Savage, the co-founder of Highpoint Church, spoke about the incident to his church congregation on January 7 with the aid of a written account that he prepared.

A pastor received a standing ovation after admitting to a church audience he once forced a minor to give him a blowjob.

The message landed in the inbox of Andy Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church, an evangelical Memphis mega-congregation that draws more than 2,000 Sunday worshipers. She reported it to a pastor, she said, who insinuated she was to blame for not resisting.

"An apology does not change the fact that what happened to me was against the law and that it was wrong", Woodson said following Savage's sermon. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me.

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"I took every step to respond in a biblical way", he said, by resigning and returning home to Memphis.

After his confession and request for forgiveness, the congregation stood and applauded Savage.

She said she's glad Savage sought forgiveness and hoped he and his family would get through this trying time. Savage said he resigned from the ministry and moved back home to Memphis. Eventually Savage left the church, she said, amid vague rumors about a "poor decision" that led church members to blame his departure on her. This is after Savage confessed to sexually harassing a 17-year-old girl some 20 years ago. He later went down on his knees in front of her and apologized to her but told her not to tell anyone else of the incident and take it to her grave.

The woman said she was encouraged to come forward with her story in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which emerged in the aftermath of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

I want other victims of sexual abuse, especially within the church, to know that they're not alone and to know that they have a voice.

Savage's admission came after his alleged victim, Jules Woodson, published a detailed blog post about their encounter.

"It's disgusting", Woodson said while crying.

Other repercussions from the revelation have included the canceling of Savage's forthcoming book on marriage by Bethany House, a Christian publisher.

SNAP leader Amy Smith's blog, The Wartburg Watch, was one of the places to first report Woodson's account.

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