Megachurch pastor gets standing ovation after admitting 'sexual incident' with teenager

Alicia Farmer
January 10, 2018

Jules Woodson was 17 years old when she says she was sexually assaulted by Savage during a ride home from church.

And he received a standing ovation for it. He said he thought the issue had been "dealt with in Texas".

"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".

In a phone interview Monday night, a tearful Woodson said she was in utter disbelief at the video.

On Sunday, Savage did not recount the entire ordeal he put Woodson through but only said he had sinned and taken responsibility for it. In reality, Woodson says Savage didn't speak to her after he drove her to a secluded area, fondled her breasts, forced her to perform oral sex, then begged for forgiveness.

Woodson told The Times she found the round of applause for Savage "disgusting" and added the incident had not been properly "dealt with" because it was never was reported to law enforcement. There was "this big coverup", she tells WMC, but "I want other victims of sexual abuse, especially within the church ... to know that they have a voice", she says.

Meanwhile, Christian publishing company Bethany House said Monday that it had canceled the July publication of Savage's book "The Ridiculously Good Marriage". He then asked me to unbutton my shirt.

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"I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, 'Oh my god, oh my god". I could not see the main road anymore, from which he turned.

But this November, after Matt Lauer was sacked from NBC for alleged sexual misconduct, Woodson was inspired to confront Savage over email, asking him if he remembered sexually assaulting her. "You have to take this to the grave with you, '" she wrote.

On Tuesday evening, the 1,000-signature petition asking him to resign from his position at East Memphis' Highpoint Church was only over a hundred signatures short, with at least 836 people asking him to leave his post.

Savage told the crowd after the incident he resigned from the ministry and moved back to Memphis. "I was scared embarrassed, but I did it", she wrote on Watch Keep.

Chris Conlee, lead pastor of the Memphis Church where Savage is now a minister, prayed for both Savage and Woodson. She said that she has since reported the molestation to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, even though Texas' statute of limitations may prevent the situation from ever being resolved. I accepted full responsibility for my actions. She told the incident to their associate pastor Larry Cotton who was completely unsupportive and unsympathetic to her plight.

MegaChurch pastor Andy Savage made the confession at a service at Highpoint Church in Memphis, Tennessee last weekend.

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