NewsMar 22, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall
Two months after admitting to a sexual abuse incident which took place 20 years ago, Andy Savage has stepped down from his position as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church. The decision follows a leave of absence and thorough investigation by Scott Fredricks, a Fort Worth attorney who specializes in assisting churches with child abuse investigations.
Although no other instances of abuse were found in the investigation, officials officials at the nondenominational church said in a statement on its website that "the leadership team at Highpoint Church agrees that Andy's resignation is appropriate."
In its letter, church leadership said that it finally had recognized "that it was defensive rather than empathetic in its initial reaction to Ms. Jules Woodson's communication concerning the abuse she experienced."
Savage, Highpoint's leadership, and its members received massive national criticism over a video that showed Savage getting a standing ovation from the congregation after admitting his actions during a Sunday service.
In addition to the church's official announcement, Savage posted a personal letter on the church website:
"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 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 to right the wrongs of the past."
Jules Woodson, the woman who accused Savage, was a 17-year-old high school senior and Savage was her 22-year-old youth pastor in 1998 at the time of the incident. Woodson has shared that she is "trying to process" the resignation and will have a statement soon.
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