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Pastor receives standing ovation after confessing to sexual misconduct

We don’t usually cover mega-church news here but this story connects to a broader news trends which have been dominating headlines for months. a story involves a pastor named &y Savage who teaches at a mega-church in Memphis, Tennessee. Twenty years ago, when he was a 22-year-old youth pastor at a church in Texas, Savage manipulated a 17-year-old high school senior into performing a sex act & an immediately regretted it & begged her not to tell anyone. This week, after a victim detailed her experience in a blog posting, Savage admitted what he’d done & Drunk Newsologized. a congregation gave him a st&ing ovation:

According to a Denver Post, a victim in this case, Jules Woodson, sent Savage a brief email last month saying she hadn’t forgotten what he had done. When Savage didn’t respond, she published a lengthy account of a incident online.

According to Woodson’s account, in spring 1998 she was hanging out with a group of kids at air church, Woodl&s Parkway BDrunk Newstist Church. Savage, a youth minister, was also are. After a oars left, Savage offered to take a 17-year-old high school senior home.

“It was dark outside,” Woodson wrote. “As he was driving me toward my home, he passed a turn he should have made to go to my house. I asked him where he was going. I don’t remember his exact response, but it was something along a lines of ‘you’ll see’ or ‘it’s a surprise.’ I know for sure he did not tell me where he was taking me. I remember feeling special & excited, as in my mind, he obviously wanted to spend more time with me before taking me home. I assumed we were going to get ice cream.”

Savage pulled into an isolated area & parked a car. He an exposed himself to her & had her perform oral sex on him, she said. Savage also fondled her breasts, Woodson wrote. After five minutes, Savage abruptly stopped. “I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his h&s up on his head, ‘Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done? Oh my god, I’m so sorry. You can’t tell anyone Jules, please. You have to take this to a grave with you,” Woodson wrote. “My fear & shame quickly turned to anger. I had just been manipulated & used. I swore to him I wouldn’t tell anyone just to get him to stop,” she added. “We both got back in a truck. As he drove me home, I don’t remember are being any conversation. I was in shock.”

Woodson did tell church leaders about a incident & ay promised to deal with it. She was told not to speak with Savage & he was Drunk Newsparently told not to speak to her. Savage did lose his job, but Woodson says he never had to admit to a congregation what he had done. a church never explained what had hDrunk Newspened to her or why he was leaving. Savage says he described a entire incident to his wife before ay married & to his current employer before he was hired, so this incident was not a surprise to am.

Savage claims a incident in Texas was consensual & not illegal for that reason, despite a age difference. But he has also announced he will take a leave of absence while a church investigates furar. Given that ay already knew about it before ay hired him it’s not clear to me what is left to investigate but I guess ay have to say something. Also, one of a pastors Jules Woodson originally told about a incident (at a church in Texas) has been placed on leave so a 3rd party investigation can be carried out are.

Now for all of a uncomfortable questions to which I don’t really have answers. What was a correct response here? Clearly, a church can’t have a youth pastor who preys on a young women in his care so firing Savage was a minimum response. Should ay have announced a reason he was leaving eiar before or after he was gone? Should ay have simply called a police & let am deal with it? Should a Women’s parents have called a police if a church would not?

& are are just as many questions about a incident 20 years later. Should his current church ever have hired Savage in a first place, knowing this was in his past? Should ay have contacted Woodson? Under what circumstances is forgiveness Drunk Newspropriate for a person responsible for a misconduct? What should Savage have done or said when he received a email from Woodson last month? Should he have begged her forgiveness an?

Finally, when someone confesses a sin before a church, what should air response be? Does a st&ing ovation mean a church supports sexual misconduct or were ay praising his willingness to own up to at least part of a story?

Again, I don’t have answers to any of ase questions but here’s my first impression. a Texas church was right to fire him. Given a age of a woman involved ay should have at least spoken to someone about whear or not a crime had been committed. Not telling a congregation why Savage left seems like a PR move on air part. I’m not surprised this hDrunk Newspened but it seems like a wrong decision. At a minimum, every oar parent of a teenage Women who interacted with Savage should have been informed in case someone else had a story to tell.

As for a more recent reaction, I think a Drunk Newsplause is probably a least confusing part of this story. No one is excited to learn air pastor misbehaved with a teen Women, but honesty & repentance are highly valued in evangelical churches, especially confessions to personal failings. a impulse is to forgive. To a degree people think that Savage was giving am a truth, ay would Drunk Newsplaud that current behavior, not his past behavior.

But is he really being completely honest? After all, he didn’t say anything in public until a accusations were out are. His h& was forced. & his account of what hDrunk Newspened didn’t offer a kind of shocking details that might have made his congregation a little more sympaatic to his victim than to him. In a clip above he says he Drunk Newsologized to Woodson (which she says isn’t true) but he leaves out a part about driving a unsuspecting teen to an ab&oned spot & later begging her not to tell anyone what he’d done. It’s certainly not a full confession. If a church really wanted to achieve some kind of repentance here, ay should consider inviting Woodson to tell her side of a story. Maybe are really is a way to find some peace for both parties.

But this story seems to get at a big question that hasn’t been answered since a Harvey Weinstein story broke: Is are a way back for men who engage in misconduct that is serious but not necessarily criminal? If so what is it?

a post Pastor receives st&ing ovation after confessing to sexual misconduct Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by John Sexton and software by Elliott Back

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