Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Former Woodlands youth pastor won't face charges in 1998 teen sex assault

Lead Pastor Chris Conlee said he Lead Pastor Chris Conlee said he"100% stands by Savage
Melissa Porter | 12 January, 2018, 18:14

A USA church pastor who admitted to and asked forgiveness for alleged sexual misconduct in front of his congregation received a standing ovation from them - but the victim says it's not enough.

A pastor who preaches that being gay is sinful has admitted a "sexual incident" with a minor, and got a standing ovation for it from his congregation.

After Woodson's letter went public, Pastor Savage was forced to address the incident, and rather than simply admitting to his crime, he tried to minimize it by calling it a "sexual incident".

He then allegedly exposed himself to her, touched her breasts and had her perform oral sex on him.

Woodson recalled that Savage suddenly ran out of the auto and fell to his knee, pleading for forgiveness and begging her not tell anyone.

"I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff and the church leadership, who informed the congregation", Savage said. Woodson also told the New York Times she has reported the 1998 incident to law enforcement in Texas.

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.

The congregation gave a standing ovation to Savage's candid admission, his request for forgiveness, and his brief comments on sin, repentance, and God's forgiveness.

Andy Savage, a pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, made his remarks and issued his apology during Sunday services which were streamed live on the Church's YouTube page.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, former Parkway associate pastor Larry Cotton has now been placed on leave from his role at Austin Stone Community Church due to his alleged involvement in a cover-up related to Savage's actions.

"I know when you're supporting Andy in that way", Conlee said, "you are also supporting Ms. Woodson". I remember feeling special and excited, as in my mind, he obviously wanted to spend more time with me before taking me home.

"In agreement with wise counsel, I took every step to respond in a biblical way", Savage said.

"Our responsibility is that we must take God's side", Conlee said to his congregation.

A woman wrote, "I support the Savage family..." Savage said he resigned from the ministry and moved back home to Memphis. "So today, I say, Jules I am deeply sorry for my actions twenty years ago". "I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas".

It is also important to note that Pastor Savage was not just a college student at the time of his crime.

On Sunday, Savage did not recount the entire ordeal he put Woodson through but only said he had sinned and taken responsibility for it.

Bethany House Publishers announced January 8 that publication of Savage's latest book, The Ridiculously Good Marriage, has been canceled.

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

Woodson also said she made a decision to come forward with the story after she saw a USA TODAY story in December about Matt Lauer being fired by NBC because of sexual misconduct.