Church hires lawyer to investigate pastor who admitted sexual misconduct

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis church hired a lawyer to investigate its own pastor, who admitted to sexual misconduct with a teenager.

Andy Savage is the teaching pastor at Highpoint Church. He took a leave of absence after a woman came forward with a tale of sexual assault.

Jules Woodson said Savage assaulted her when she was a 17-year-old high school student. At the time Savage was Woodson's youth pastor; he was 21 years old.

"This is something I've struggled with my entire life," Woodson said. "There was just this coverup, and I felt so much quiet."

Woodson came forward with the allegations as part of the MeToo movement online--a movement where women around the world have spoken up about sexual misconduct they've faced in their lifetimes.

Savage addressed the allegations at his church in January 2018. He admitted to sexual misconduct against Woodson. He said he immediately regretted what he did, asked forgiveness, and moved out of the state. His church gave him a standing ovation.

Savage said he told Highpoint Church about what he did to Woodson before the church hired him as a pastor.

A few days later, Savage took a leave of absence from Highpoint Church.

Now, the church has hired lawyer Scott Fredricks to investigate Savage.

Fredricks is supposed to review past and current actions of the church and its leadership concerning Savage's ministry, review the impact of those actions, and advise Highpoint Church about the future ministry at the church.

Highpoint has also hired MinistrySafe, a Texas-based company whose primary role is to assess and enhance child protection policies and practices in churches.

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