Pastor Andy Savage's victim speaks out about sexual assault in new video

(YouTube/Highpoint Church)Pastor Andy Savage appears in a screen capture of a video from Highpoint Memphis Church.

The woman who has accused Highpoint Church Pastor Andy Savage of sexually assaulting her 20 years ago has spoken out about the case in a new video.

In the video, recorded last month and published by The New York Times on Friday, the victim, Jules Woodson, recounts much of what she had already outlined on the Wartburg Watchblog when the 1998 encounter became public in January.

The recording was one of the few times that Woodson has spoken out about the assault since she recounted it on the blog.

Savage drew national headlines in January after he confessed to his congregation about a "sexual incident" with a teen. After the confession, members of Highpoint church were seen giving Savage a standing ovation.

Woodson, who was 17 when the encounter took place, pointed out in the video that Savage had never talked about the details of the event and refers to it only as a "sexual incident."

"As a kid growing up in the church, I really looked up to the church leaders. I looked up to him (Savage). I trusted him," Woodson said.

"What happened was a crime. This is not something the church should handle internally. ... We as a church, of all places, should be getting this right," she went on to say.

Apart from his confession at Highpoint, Savage had also spoken about the incident in a local radio interview. The pastor insisted that the encounter, which took place at a church in suburban Houson, was consensual and described it as an "organic moment."

The release of the new video came just as Highpoint had announced that it is "wrapping up" the investigation into Savage's ministry. The church said that it would release more information "as the situation requires" but no update has been issued since then.

Highpoint had reportedly retained MinistrySafe to evaluate the church's child protection protocols after it finishes the investigation into Savage's case.

Savage has been placed on leave shortly after his confession, pending the outcome of the investigation. The church website indicated that he is on a leave of absence and has described him as a staff member without the title of teaching pastor that he previously had.

Larry Cotton, the pastor to whom Woodson reported the sexual assault, had reportedly resigned from a leadership post at the Austin Stone Community Church in February. He explained that he did not do enough and that he should have reported the case to the authorities.

While Texas has a clergy law for assault cases, the local police said that it cannot prosecute the case because the statute of limitations has already expired.

Go to the Home Page

Top News

Inside Christian Times