MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A top pastor at Highpoint Church acknowledged that he committed sexual misconduct with a high school student more than 20 years ago.
Andy Savage said he was a college student working for a church in Texas at the time. He said he asked for forgiveness from the teen and the church, resigned, and moved back to Memphis.
Savage is now the Teaching Pastor at Highpoint, and said he told church leaders about what happened before he was hired.
The victim recently shared her story online, emboldened by the online movement #MeToo that is encouraging sexual assault victims to speak up about things that have happened to them.
Savage released a statement after his victim's story began gaining attention in the community.
WMC Action News 5 spoke exclusively with the victim about her side of the story.
Savage's full statement can be read below:
"As a college student on staff at a church in Texas more than 20 years ago, I regretfully had a sexual incident with a female high school senior in the church. I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation. In agreement with wise counsel, I took every step to respond in a biblical way.
I resigned from ministry and moved back home to Memphis. I accepted full responsibility for my actions. I was and remain very remorseful for the incident and deeply regret the pain I caused her and her family, as well as the pain I caused the church and God's Kingdom.
There has never been another situation remotely similar in my life before or after that occurrence. The incident happened before Amanda and I were engaged and I shared every aspect of this situation with her before I asked her to marry me. I further disclosed this incident to Chris Conlee before coming on staff at Highpoint and have shared with key leaders throughout my tenure.
This incident was dealt with in Texas 20 years ago, but in the last few days has been presented to a wider audience. I was wrong and I accepted responsibility for my actions. I was sorry then and remain so today. Again, I sincerely ask for forgiveness from her and pray for God's continued healing for everyone involved."