Memphis pastor takes leave of absence following sexual incident allegations

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A pastor is addressing allegations that he had a sexual incident with a teen girl 20 years ago.

Andy Savage, teaching pastor at Highpoint Church, spoke about the controversy surrounding him in an hour-long radio interview on the Ben Ferguson Show in Dallas.

"As a stupid college student serving as a youth pastor I made some really dumb decisions," Savage said during the interview.

Savage said he remembers the events of the sexual encounter with the then 17-year-old Jules Woodson differently, acknowledging there was a flirtatious atmosphere between the two that night.

He also said he panicked and was remorseful after the encounter.

"I had crossed a line in a standard of sexual purity that I said I wouldn't do," Savage said. "Nothing like this had ever happened before. It was the first and last incident of its kind until marriage."

"I did not ask for, I did not force, I did not direct her to do anything in this moment," Savage said.

Savage said leadership at the church in Texas at the time handled the situation among themselves.

He initially told them he and Woodson just kissed but later confessed the encounter was sexual.

Savage said he apologized to Woodson, was fired, and moved back to Memphis where he later started working at Germantown Baptist Church.

That was the only interview Highpoint Church said Savage will do at this point.

Chris Conlee, head pastor at Highpoint Church, sent the following release out to church members Thursday night:

Highpoint Family,

They also said they expect to release additional information Friday.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.