Pastor Who Assaulted Teen Girl Will Take "Leave of Absence" from Church

Sergio Conner
January 14, 2018

Andy Savage, the megachurch pastor who made waves this week after confessing to a "sexual incident" with a minor years ago, has been placed on leave effective immediately.

Woodson wrote that Savage pulled over the auto, unzipped his jeans, pulled out his penis and asked her to perform oral sex.

"I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation".

"An apology does not change the fact that what happened to me was against the law and that it was wrong", Woodson said.

On Tuesday, a case was opened and a detective from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office interviewed Woodson, the department said in a statement.

"That flirtatious environment, continued... which led to... us making out, some heavy petting". It was a very mutual, spontaneous, physical moment and our hormones were obviously very much in that moment and she performed oral sex'. 'He was an adult and he was a pastor and he was in a place of trust'.

Chris Conlee went on to say that the church is standing by Savage's side.

"It saddens us that Ms. Woodson has not been on the same road to healing", Conlee said.

Conlee also said that a third-party organization has been hired to audit the church as well as Savage's ministry.

"To that end, we are engaging a qualified, independent, third party organisation to do a full audit of our church processes and Andy's ministry". 'While the audit is being completed, we will continue to support Andy and his family'. He said he had sinned and taken responsibility, but allegedly told church members of the confrontation. At the time, Savage was a 22-year-old youth minister at a Houston church.

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She also alleged that the leaders at the Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church -- which is now called Stonebridge Church -- covered up for Savage and never reported it to the authorities.

Woodson was 17 at the time.

In a recent video released by CBS, Woodson said she complied with Savage at the time because she was in shock, scared and didn't understand what was happening. He took her to a wooded area, unzipped his trousers, took his penis out, and asked her for oral sex. "He then told me not to mention anything that had happened to anyone else", she wrote.

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

On the night of the incident, Woodson says Savage got down on his knees and apologized, but told her to keep the incident a secret and take it to her grave. But leadership's approach to the matter seems to have shifted.

"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.

He said he "deeply regret (s)" the pain he caused the family.

'I am sorry and I humbly ask for your forgiveness, I love you all very much, ' he said, to which the audience stood up and roared in applause.

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.

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