Embattled Highpoint Memphis Church Teaching Pastor Andy Savage insisted that a woman accusing him of sexually assaulting her as a teenager lied about the nature of their “consensual” encounter as he announced Thursday that he’s taking a leave of absence to allow an independent audit of his ministry.
“The atmosphere was very flirtatious. That flirtatious environment continued to move forward, which led to us making out, some heavy petting. It was a very mutual, spontaneous, physical moment. Our hormones were obviously very much in that moment, and she performed oral sex,” Savage said in an interview with conservative radio host Ben Ferguson. He also insisted that “I do not believe I broke the law.”
Nevertheless, he said, he would be taking a leave of absence to allow the independent audit of his ministry.
“I’m going to be taking a leave of absence for the purpose of cooperating with a third-party, independent firm that will come in and do an audit of my ministry, the policies that we work with at Highpoint, and get their assessment on my fitness for ministry,” Savage said. “I will trust the leadership at Highpoint Church and submit fully to their leadership.”
A statement from Highpoint Church said they will continue to support Savage and that the leave of absence was a mutual decision.
“Please know that we support Andy as a leader of our church, but we also understand this has been a difficult season not only for Andy and his family, but for our congregation as well. We want to maintain trust in both Andy and our church leadership that we are not only doing things right, but we are doing right things. To that end, we are engaging a qualified, independent, third party organization to do a full audit of our church processes and Andy’s ministry,” the church said.
Savage’s accuser, Jules Woodson, recently reported to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Texas that 20 years ago, when she was 17 and Savage her 22-year-old youth pastor, he coerced her into performing oral sex on him on a dark Texas dirt road on her way home to her mother’s house.
“He turned onto a dirt road and continued to drive. There were trees all around. I could not see the main road anymore, from which he turned. I asked what was back here. He told me they were building a church. I thought, maybe that’s what this was about, maybe he has some secret to tell me, like perhaps he was moving to another church. We reached a dead end and he turned the truck around before putting it in park. We were stopped, and he turned the headlights off,” Woodson told The Wartburg Watch. hat was when he asked her to perform oral sex on him.
After about five minutes, Woodson said Savage reacted in shock and begged her not to reveal what he had done.
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Source: Christian Post