A week after Teaching Pastor Andy Savage of Highpoint Church in Memphis, Tennessee, took a leave of absence over a “sexual incident” with a 17-year-old former parishioner that occurred 20 years ago in Texas, Highpoint Lead Pastor Chris Conlee denounced bloggers who have been critical.
“What happened 20 years ago was wrong. What is happening with bloggers and social media critics being so hateful is also wrong,” Conlee told his congregation Sunday about church sexual assault advocates who have been criticizing the way Savage’s past was kept secret from his congregation.
Savage’s accuser, Jules Woodson, revealed in a report highlighted in The Wartburg Watch earlier this month, how he coerced her into performing oral sex on him while he was her then 22-year-old youth pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, now known as StoneBridge Church 20 years ago.
She alleged that even though he was fired from the church over the incident, what he did was not fully disclosed and she was told by church officials to keep quiet about what had happened to her. Months later, Savage was back in ministry in Memphis and his past was shared with only a few people, including Conlee.
Savage has since argued of his encounter with Woodson that “I did not force anything. I did not ask for anything. I did not request anything. This was a very mutual organic moment that we shared.”
Since The Wartburg Watch’s initial report, many critics have suggested that Savage should not be in a leadership position with his past.
SOURCE: Leonardo Blair