Memphis megachurch pastor resigns following sexual abuse investigation

Religion News Service | 3/21/2018 | Ron Maxey
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MEMPHIS (USA Today) — A pastor accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Texas 20 years ago resigned from his ministerial post Tuesday at a Memphis megachurch.

The resignation of Andy Savage, teaching pastor at Highpoint Church and part of the church’s senior leadership team, follows a leave of absence and lengthy investigation by Scott Fredricks, a Fort Worth lawyer whose specialties include assisting churches with child-abuse investigations.

RELATED - Church - MeToo

RELATED: Where is the Church on #MeToo?

Savage’s fall culminates more than two months of accusations and soul-searching over a case that became symbolic of the #churchtoo offshoot of the #metoo movement.

Investigation - Instances - Abuse - Leadership - Team

While the investigation found no other instances of abuse, “the leadership team at Highpoint Church agrees that Andy’s resignation is appropriate,” officials at the nondenominational church with campuses in Memphis and suburban Collierville, Tenn., announced in a statement.

The church’s statement is the first time its leadership has termed the encounter involving Savage as “abuse.”

Jules - Woodson - Woman - Savage - News

Jules Woodson, the woman who accused Savage, said she was “trying to process” the news Tuesday afternoon and would have a statement soon.

In addition to the letter from church leaders, Savage posted a personal letter on the church website Tuesday.

Passionate - Opinions - Matter - Perspective - Jules

Your passionate opinions on this important matter have truly helped me to gain perspective that I simply could not have achieved on my own. I have come to understand Jules’ vantage point better, and to appreciate the courage it took for her to speak up.

While Jules cried out for justice, I carelessly turned the topic to my own story of moral change, as if getting my own life in order should help to make up for what she went through and continues to go through.

Savage - Specifics - Steps - Ministry - Order

Savage did not offer specifics about what his next steps would be but said he would “step away from ministry in order to do everything I can...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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