Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Tennessee pastor accused of sexual assault has book canceled

Tennessee pastor accused of sexual assault has book canceled

Andy Savage, a Memphis pastor, received a standing ovation after he admitted to a "sexual incident" with a high school girl some 20 years ago. For any painful memories or fresh wounds this has created for anyone, I am sorry, and I humbly ask for your forgiveness.

Woodson (left) with Savage. "I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, 'Oh, my God, oh, my God. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward forgiveness and healing, and I mean that".

Woodson said she wanted to come forward with her story after hearing about disgraced "Today" show host Matt Lauer being fired from NBC for sexual misconduct.

A Memphis congregation's response to reports that a pastor sexually assaulted a woman when she was a teenager is forcing some evangelicals into their own #MeToo moment.

She also explained that on the night that the incident took place, Savage apparently got down on his knees and apologised, but also told her to keep it a secret.

"His apology isn't enough because ... he's lying about how he handled it", Woodson tells WMC, responding to a prior statement in which Savage said he'd "sought forgiveness" from Woodson, her parents, and leaders at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church near Houston.

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Highpoint Church's lead pastor, Chris Conlee, wrote in an online statement that he was not caught off guard by the claims Woodson shared. "As a college student on staff at a church in Texas more than 20 years ago, I regretfully had a sexual incident with a female high school senior in the church", Savage said, according to CBS News. "You have to take this to the grave with you". "As he was driving me towards my home, he passed the turn he should have made to go to my house", she wrote.

"But the church's response is full of red flags that concern those of us who monitor the sexual abuse of minors in religious communities, and that should concern everyone who wants to see minors protected and perpetrators exposed and kept from harming other young people", the statement read.

My fear and shame quickly turned to anger. Staying vague, the 42-year-old referred to the incident in his early 20s as a sin for which he resigned and is "deeply sorry" and "sorry more was not done". Oh my god, I'm so sorry.

"Through the tears, I told him that I was too embarrassed to tell my Mom what had happened". Instead, they held a going away reception for Andy at the church in which he was allowed to simply say that he had made a poor decision and that it was time for him to move on from our church'. "He never came to me, the church told him he couldn't talk to me and they told me I couldn't talk to him".

Jules Woodson, who was 17 at the time, told The New York Times she watched the pastor's apology and the applause that followed. According to Woodson's account, the church did nothing until she broke her silence and told her women's discipleship group. Also, Savage has written a book on marriage, "The Ridiculously Good Marriage", which was scheduled for July publication.

"Faith can be a very powerful thing, and power without accountability is a risky thing", church abuse expert Brown told The Post.

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