Andy Savage is the pastor at a megachurch who recently opened up about a decades-old assault on a teen in his former youth group. When he opened up about the incident, the congregation began applauding, according to Christianity Today.
But despite receiving support from his congregation, it now appears that the megachurch pastor is stepping down.
Savage's remarks, which came on January 7, revealed that while he was 22 years old, he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in his youth group in 1998. After the pastor made these remarks it was covered by national news and sparked an investigation by Highpoint Church, where he was serving as pastor.
Church leaders had been made aware of his misconduct prior to hiring him. After the investigation, the church could not find evidence of any further misconduct. The pastor has been on leave throughout the course of the investigation, and the church agrees that his resignation is probably the appropriate action given the situation.
Jules Woodson has spoken out about the sexual assault, which Christianity Today reports has "haunted her since she was 17." She has been disappointed with her church's response to the crime.
"After much prayer and counsel, I now believe it’s appropriate for me to resign from my staff position at Highpoint Church and step away from ministry in order to do everything I can to right the wrongs of the past," he said.
"Apologies are important, but more is required. I know that stepping down once, or even a second time, still doesn’t make things right for Jules. But addressing my own acts of abuse this way acknowledges the importance of confronting abuse in our culture and in the Church at large. In addition, I will continue striving to grow through this experience going forward as I seek God’s will."
Larry Cotton, the pastor who Woodson met with to report his assault back in 1998, has also resigned from his position at the church. Cotton had been on staff at the time of the abuse, but he didn't contact authorities to report the crime.
Despite his failure to report the assault, he claims that now he understands the weight of his mistake."
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