Pastor Who Confessed 'Sexual Incident' With Minor Put on Leave Effective Immediately

Pastor Who Confessed 'Sexual Incident' With Minor Put on Leave Effective Immediately

A pastor who admitted to sexually assaulting a teenager 20 years ago in Texas, received a standing ovation from his Tennessee mega-church congregation when he asked for forgiveness.

After a woman named Jules Woodson came forward and accused Highpoint Church pastor Andy Savage of sexually assaulting her when she was still in her teenage years in 1998, the Memphis minister admitted that a sexual "incident" did happen at the time.

Savage's past was brought up by his victim Jules Woodson, who wrote about the incident on Friday.

Savage was a 22-year-old youth minister at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas when the encounter ubfolded. He took her to a wooded area, unzipped his trousers, took his penis out, and asked her for oral sex. "Jules, I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago".

"I'm going to be taking a leave of absence for the goal of cooperating with a third-party, independent firm that will come in and do an audit of my ministry, the policies that we work with at Highpoint, and get their assessment on my fitness for ministry", Savage said. Nevertheless, Woodson said the apology did not change the alleged wrong that was done to her 20 years ago, CBS News said.

She clearly recalls one evening in Spring 1998 when Savage offered her a ride home one night after a meeting. "He then told me not to mention anything that had happened to anyone else", she wrote. 'I assumed we were going to get ice cream'. It was a very mutual, spontaneous, physical moment and our hormones were obviously very much in that moment and she performed oral sex'.

"I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it", Woodson wrote. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me, ' she writes. "I did. He started touching over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts". What have I done?'

On the night of the incident, Woodson says Savage got down on his knees and apologized, but told her to keep the incident a secret and take it to her grave.

Conlee in an official statement said news of the assault was "not new to me or our leadership" and described Savage as one of his "closest friends and partner in ministry".

"I am a grown woman now and although it's been nearly 20 years since everything happened, it still affects me to this day", she wrote.

'I am sorry and I humbly ask for your forgiveness, I love you all very much, ' he said, to which the audience stood up and roared in applause.

No details were revealed to the church's congregation.

Highpoint's lead pastor, Chris Conlee, said the church is "100 percent committed to Andy, Amanda, and their family and his continued ministry at Highpoint Church". 'I have watched Andy strive to live a godly life and proactively share what he has learned to help others'.

Woodson wrote that Savage pulled over the vehicle, unzipped his jeans, pulled out his penis and asked her to perform oral sex.

Woodson in an interview with the New York Times said comments made during the recent Sunday service and the reactions to them were "disgusting".

"It was a flirtatious environment which led to making out", Savage said.

Monday, Christina publisher Bethany House announced they canceled the publication of Savage's book, The Ridiculously Good Marriage. He serves as the church's "Teaching Pastor".

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