Priests, pastors, and anyone else considered to be a religious figure are often trusted by the public, especially those who attend their religious dwelling to practice their beliefs openly. While many expect a certain type of behavior from these figures, it has become public knowledge that some of them have taken advantage of the authority and integrity that is associated with their role to do things that are both unethical and illegal. Some of these things include sexual assault and harassment. But, just as other industries have experienced, many of the incidents that have occurred have often been ignored and the victims have been encouraged to remain silent.
With the #MeToo movement pushing for change and recognizing a need to end sexual harassment, one woman, who claims she was harassed more than 20 years ago by her youth minister, is finally being heard. Back in 1998, Jules Woodson was a part of the staff at a church in Texas and 22-year-old Andy Savage was serving as a youth minister there. One night, however, he offered to drive Woodson home from church but took a detour route that led the two down a dirt road hidden by trees. He then had her perform oral sex on him. She was just 17-year-old at the time.
Woodson admits that she has struggled with this incident her entire life and when she began seeing more and more women come forward, sharing their stories, she was inclined to do so herself. But, this wouldn’t be the first time she discussed the unwanted sexual encounter she had with Savage. Back when the incident occurred, she told church leaders and not only did they neglect to call the authorities, but they didn’t tell her parents the extent of what really happened. The church allowed Savage to resign but he went on to become a pastor at a megachurch in Memphis, TN.
For years, Woodson was forced to live with this and likely struggled with the mental anguish. She eventually came forward and wrote an article on a Christian blog that highlighted the real story. After the true incident was finally revealed, Savage responded by addressing it to the congregation at Highpoint Church in Memphis. It was also being recorded and streamed online for others to see. After admitting he was wrong in front of the large crowd, he claimed that he “apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership.”
This wasn’t exactly true.
But, because Savage was “brave” enough to admit his wrongdoing, he was “met with a standing ovation by the congregation,” according to wrcbtv.com. Woodson has since commented stating that “his apology isn’t enough because number one, he’s lying about how he handled it,” and “he never came to me, the church told him he couldn’t talk to me and they told me I couldn’t talk to him.” Perhaps others saw through Savage’s admission which is why this has become a trending story on various news source sites.
While there has been much progress made since the #MeToo movement was established, this story shows that there is plenty more work to be done. While Woodson likely expected individuals to side with her, instead, many gave Savage respect for admitting that he took advantage of a young teenager and coerced her into doing something that has haunted her ever since.
And if you are being haunted by your thoughts of a recent encounter you had with someone who sexually harassed you, USAttorneys.com wants to help you locate a sexual misconduct lawyer in Memphis, TN now.