A Tennessee pastor admitting to and apologizing for a earlier “sexual incident” with a highschool pupil was met with raucous applause and a standing ovation from his Memphis congregation.
Andy Savage’s confession earlier than tons of of members of the Highpoint Church comes simply days after Jules Woodson accused the church chief of sexually assaulting her a long time in the past whereas he was youth minister at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas.
Woodson, who was 17 on the time of the assault, opened up concerning the encounter on Friday with Watch Preserve.
She recalled being with out a experience after spending the night with pals on the Texas church within the Spring of 1998. Woodson mentioned Savage supplied her a experience house, solely to drive her to a wooded space the place he assaulted her.
“Out of the blue Andy unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis. He requested me to suck it. I used to be scared embarrassed, however I did it,” she wrote. “I bear in mind pondering this should imply that Andy Beloved me. He then requested me to unbutton my shirt. I did.”
She mentioned she was left feeling manipulated and ashamed, which finally drove her to debate the incident with church management — although police have been by no means known as on the matter.
Throughout his remarks over the weekend — which have been streamed stay on the Church’s YouTube web page — Savage didn’t open up concerning the particulars of the “sexual incident.” He mentioned he thought the difficulty had been “handled in Texas.”
“Till now, I didn’t know there was unfinished enterprise with Jules,” he mentioned. “Jules, I’m deeply sorry for my actions 20 years in the past. I stay dedicated to cooperate with you towards forgiveness and therapeutic.”
The lead pastor at Highpoint, Chris Conlee, mentioned he was amongst these “damage by the ripple impact of the results of that sin” however that he stood by Savage.
Conlee in an official assertion mentioned information of the assault was “not new to me or our management” and described Savage as one in all his “closest pals and accomplice in ministry.”
Nonetheless Savage — an creator and podcast — continues to see fallout from the incident.
Christian publishing firm Bethany Home on Monday introduced his forthcoming guide “The Ridiculously good Marriage” had been canceled.
Woodson in an interview with the New York Occasions mentioned the video of Sunday’s service and the response to Savage was “disgusting.”
Woodson additionally advised the newspaper she spoke on Monday with a detective in Texas, although it’s not clear whether or not a statute of limitations would apply.