Memphis pastor Andy Savage admitted to a “sexual incident” with then-17-year-old Jules Woodson in 1998 when he was a college student working with a Texas church. He admitted this to his congregation Sunday, and said he apologized to her, her parents, and others.
“In agreement with wise counsel, I took every step to respond in a biblical way,” he said. “I resigned from ministry, and moved back home to Memphis.”
After he was done, the standing ovation at Highpoint Church lasted for about 20 seconds (starting at 20:08 in the video above). Lead pastor Chris Conlee then took the mic.
“I know when you’re supporting Andy in that way,” Conlee said, “you are also supporting Ms. Woodson. You are supporting her healing. You are supporting and you are praying for her, and we are willing as individuals and as a church to do whatever we can within the scope of what it means to offer spiritual healing to do that for Ms. Woodson.”
Ms. Woodson, now grown, was disgusted by Sunday’s service. Her word.
“It’s disgusting,” she told The New York Times in a Tuesday report. Savage’s admission came after Woodson wrote a blog post detailing sexual assault. She said he offered to drive her home one night, but instead, he first brought her to an area off a road and forced her to perform oral sex.
Savage said that before the blog post, he thought the matter had been “dealt with in Texas.” Woodson said not so. After all, she had not brought it to law enforcement (no charges were ever filed in this). She told the Times that she finally reported the assault on Monday to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, which is near Houston.
Update – Jan 10, 5:43 p.m. EST: Law&Crime obtained a statement from the Montgomery County Constable’s Office Precinct 3 on Wednesday afternoon. They cannot do much about this case because the statute of limitations ran out, they said:
We want to confirm with the media that this case has been brought to Montgomery County Constable’s Office Precinct 3 attention yesterday. A case was opened and the complainant in the case was interviewed by a Detective. During the process of collecting initial information from the complainant we have been working with the District Attorneys office on possible charges in the case. Montgomery County District Attorneys office has researched the law that would have applied in 1998 for the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations has passed and no charges would be able to be filed. Using the current statute we would have some possible options but we are limited to the law as it was at the time of the offense in 1998. As a result we are unable to investigate and seek justice to the full extent of what would we normally would in such a case.
[Screengrab via Highpoint Church]