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According to Woodson’s account, Woodson socialized with Savage and others one night in 1998, Savage offered to drive her home. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me. 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. Jules, I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago.Woodson remembered Savage drove past her house, promising her a surprise — which she took to mean something innocuous, like ice cream. Suddenly, Andy unzipped his jeans and pulled out his penis. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward forgiveness and healing.” His congregation responded with a standing ovation.In her blog post, Woodson recalls there were initially no consequences to Savage’s actions.
He had sinned and committed an act of sexual impurity with another person, and he sought forgiveness from God as necessary, and through that forgiveness had been transformed.Both Savage and Highpoint Church’s statements suggest that the evangelical community may be evolving, albeit slowly, on issues of sexual misconduct within the church, and may be more willing to look at sexual crimes as abuses of power, rather than shared sins of “temptation.” Andy Savage became one of the faces of the evangelical church’s post-#Me Too reckoning when Woodson publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a 17-year-old high school senior attending the church, where he was her 22-year-old youth pastor. You can’t tell anyone Jules, please.’ Savage’s initial response to the incident characterized it as a regrettable sexual encounter, one in which both people behaved sinfully.After unsuccessfully trying to reach Savage by email, Woodson posted a full account of her story on an abuse survivors’ blog. He started touching me over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts. I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, ‘Oh my god, oh my god. In January, Savage told his Memphis congregation, Highpoint Church, in a live-streamed sermon, “Until now, I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules.Sex is either shared in loving marriage or an immoral and dirty expression of sin, rarely anything in the middle.For example, Woodson recalls agreeing to have oral sex with Savage, believing that his advances automatically proved that he “loved her.” Woodson’s difficulty reporting the incident speaks to this dynamic.
A Tennessee megachurch pastor has resigned his position two months after admitting to sexual misconduct with a minor 20 years ago.