Pastor who admitted to 'sexual incident' at Woodlands church placed on leave

Woodson left and Savage right CBS NEWS

Responding to a recent report that one of their pastors had allegedly sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl while serving as a youth minister at his previous church, leaders of a megachurch in Memphis, Tennessee, said they'd.

The encounter, which he said happened before he was engaged to his wife, Amanda, was "dealt with in Texas 20 years ago", he said without elaborating, "but in the last few days it has been presented to a wider audience".

Woodson told WMC News on Saturday that Savage's apology was insufficient. He took her to a wooded area, unzipped his trousers, took his penis out, and asked her for oral sex.

Last week Savage admitted involvement in inappropriate behaviour with Jules Woodson, after she detailed the incident in her blog last December.

"I was and remain very remorseful for the incident and, as well as the pain I caused the church and God's Kingdom", he said.

However it was the final conclusion to his remarks that was met with a standing ovation.

'Not only did I suddenly feel this huge guilt for doing what Andy had asked me to do but I also started to feel that this was my fault somehow because I didn't stop him, ' she wrote.

In an interview with WMC on January 6, Woodson said she had grappled with the incident all her life.

"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", he said.

She clearly recalls one evening in Spring 1998 when Savage offered her a ride home one night after a meeting.

She said Savage told her he had a surprise for her before he drove past her house to the wooded area.

"I am a grown woman now and although it's been nearly 20 years since everything happened, it still affects me to this day", she wrote. 'I assumed we were going to get ice cream'. We reached a dead end and he turned the truck around before putting it in park.

'I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it. "I remember thinking this must mean that Andy loved me. I did. He started touching over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts". What have I done?'

Instead, she said, he turned off the car's lights and asked her to perform oral sex on him.

Even then, however, the church never "came out with an official statement addressing what had happened and/or what was being done about it", Woodsonsaid. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward forgiveness and healing.

The pastor's seemingly victim-blaming reaction stunned her. He also insisted that "I do not believe I broke the law".

'Not only did I suddenly feel this vast guilt for doing what Andy had asked me to do but I also started to feel that this was my fault somehow because I didn't stop him'.

He said he told church leaders what happened and no one called the police.

No details were revealed to the church's congregation.

A statement from Highpoint Church said they will continue to support Savage and that the leave of absence was a mutual decision.

'I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through, ' the addendum reads.

Inspired by the anti-sexual harassment movement sweeping through Hollywood and elsewhere, Woodson said she chose to send an email to Savage last month with the subject line "Do you remember?"

Men in positions of power across multiple industries have been hit with such allegations since five women came forward to the New York Times back in October to share how disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had harassed or assaulted them. As a result of Savage's admission, a publisher has dropped plans to release his upcoming book, titled "The Ridiculously Good Marriage".

Savage's page on the indicates that he is now a married father-of-five. In 2016, the church's leadership was, a former youth pastor who worked for a different church that had links to Highpoint.



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