He said that he believed the episode had been "dealt with in Texas" before Woodson took her story public. She said Savage exposed himself, fondled her and asked her to perform oral sex on him. Woodson, who was 17 years old at the time, claimed Savage pulled her aside and began molesting her, then begged her not to tell anyone.
Speaking about Woodson while reading a statement from his mobile phone, the pastor said: "Until now, I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules". Larry Cotton, a director of the Austin Stone Community Church, allegedly told the girl to stay quiet when she reported the assault while he was an associate pastor at The Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in The Woodlands in 1998, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
Savage, the co-founder of Highpoint Church, spoke about the incident to his church congregation on January 7 with the aid of a written account that he prepared. After confessing to the incident, Savage got a standing ovation.
Pastor Andy Savage has attacked homosexuality and advocated for the use of "conversion" therapy to attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors.
"I did it because I was scared and I was in shock and I didn't understand what was happening".
"I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, "Oh my god, oh my god".
She ended the brief email this way: "Well, I REMEMBER".
As Savage finished his remarks, he was greeted with a 20-second standing ovation from Highpoint's congregation, according to a video.
Church members have also been reluctant to talk about it, though many have been vocal online, both critical of Savage and many who are supportive.
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Similar sentiments were expressed by President Zuma during his announcement of the appointment of the inquiry. Judges have said the commission of inquiry must complete its work within six months of being established.
Savage told the crowd after the incident he resigned from the ministry and moved back to Memphis. "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". "I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas".
The day she heard about Lauer's firing, Woodson said she sent an email to Savage asking if he remembered that day he drove her home in 1998.
"This incident was dealt with in Texas 20 years ago, but in the last few days it has been presented to a larger audience", he said.
Savage has also given his support to the widely-condemned practice of "conversion" therapy.
He added that he told his now-wife about the incident before they became engaged, and that his employers at HighPoint Church were also aware of it before he was hired.
"It's disgusting", Woodson said while crying.
"The church, however, never came out with an official statement addressing what had happened and/or what was being done about it", Woodson wrote.
Woodson also said she made a decision to come forward with the story after she saw a USA TODAY story in December about Matt Lauer being fired by NBC because of sexual misconduct.