A Memphis "mega-church" pastor is the latest to be accused of sexual assault. Andy Savage, the leader of Highpoint Church in Memphis Tennessee, admitted he molested a female minor twenty years ago, Fox 13 reports. The alleged victim, Jules Woodson, was a 17-year-old high school senior at the time.
Savage released an official statement after the woman came forward detailing her side of the story on her blog "Watch Keep" last December. She explained she felt manipulated and used, and recently submitted a report to law enforcement. According to Woodson, Savage asked her if she needed a ride home after a youth ministry meeting in the spring of 1998. When approaching the entrance to Woodson's home, Savage instead drove down a nearby dirt road and asked her to perform oral sex on him.
At the time, the pastor was in college and working as part of the Texas Baptist church staff, which is now known as StoneBridge. "I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation," Savage explains in his statement.
"I resigned from ministry and moved back home to Memphis. I accepted full responsibility for my actions. I was and remain very remorseful for the incident and deeply regret the pain I caused her and her family, as well as the pain I caused the church and God’s Kingdom.
There has never been another situation remotely similar in my life before or after that occurrence. The incident happened before Amanda and I were engaged and I shared every aspect of this situation with her before I asked her to marry me. I further disclosed this incident to Chris Conlee before coming on staff at Highpoint and have shared with key leaders throughout my tenure."
Chris Conlee, another Highpoint church leader, shared that he knew about the sexual assault and claims the church remains 100 percent committed to Savage and his family.