The pastor of a Memphis megachurch was met with a standing ovation after admitting to what he characterized as a "sexual incident" with a teen.
Highpoint Church pastor and presumed charlatan Andy Savage spoke to his congregation Sunday, at which point he also asked Mr. God for forgiveness. "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.
Jules Woodson, who was 17 at the time of the 1998 incident, went public with a blog post earlier this month. Woodson said Savage, who was 22 at the time, offered to drive her from Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church to her mother's house. Instead of going straight to Woodson's home, however, Savage took a detour. "I asked him where he was going," Woodson wrote. "I don't remember his exact response, but it was something along the lines of 'you'll see' or 'it's a surprise.' I know for sure he did not tell me where he was taking me. I remember feeling special and excited, as in my mind, he obviously wanted to spend more time with me before taking me home. I assumed we were going to get ice cream."
Savage then took Woodson down a "dirt road" before placing his truck in park and cutting the headlights. "Suddenly, Andy unzipped his jeans and pulled out his penis," she said, going on:
"He asked me to suck it. I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me. He then asked me to unbutton my shirt. I did. He started touching me over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts. After what I believe to have been about 5 minutes of this going on, he suddenly stopped, got out of the truck and ran around the back and to my side before falling to his knees. I quickly buttoned my shirt back up and got out of the truck. Now I was terrified and ashamed. I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, 'Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done? Oh my god, I'm so sorry. You can't tell anyone Jules, please. You have to take this to the grave with you.'"
In a previously released statement, Savage claimed there's "never been another situation remotely similar in my life before or after that occurrence."
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.