Andy Savage, clergy sexual abuser, loses marriage book contract.

The Ridiculously Good Marriage, a planned book by Memphis-area, megachurch, Pastor Andy Savage, was recently cancelled by Bethany House (link here).

This is good news in my opinion.

This publishing house made this decision following recent news that Andy Savage sexually assaulted a teenager while he was her youth pastor twenty years ago. I am encouraged to see that they took this principled stance.

A pastor who abused his position of power to gratify his sexual desires and then minimized the seriousness of said abuse is not fit to teach on marriage, IMO.

In fact, I don’t think he is fit to be a pastor at all as he is far from beyond reproach (see I Timothy 3:2).

The story was broken by Wartburg Watch this past Friday, January 5, 2018. It has subsequently been picked up by many national news services (link here, herehere, here, and here).

Jules Woodson, the brave survivor, was moved to speak up by the #metoo movement.

The following is a summary of the basic details (warning a bit graphic). The links above provide more information; however, the best link is back to Wartburg Watch where Jules shares her story in her own words (link here):

Jules was seventeen, and Andy was her youth pastor. He was a college student and was 22 years old working at the church during the time under scrutiny.

It is important to understand the events transpired after a pastoral relationship was well established. Jules had a pastoral counseling relationship with Andy regarding some challenging personal situations Jules was facing at the time including her parent’s divorce as well as unwanted sexual encounter. 

The night of the clergy sexual abuse of Jules took place when he offered to take her home from church. Youth Pastor Andy Savage then proceeded to drive her to a secluded location where he unzipped his pants and asked her to suck his penis. She complied recounting being scared at the time.

Then he asked her to unbutton her shirt, and he touched her breasts after first starting by touching her bra. After five minutes of this, he jumped out the car and started crying,

“‘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 the grave with you.’”

Jules told  another pastor at the church. The church covered it up leaving people with the impression Andy had just had an inappropriate kiss. They even sent him away with a party!

Fast-forwarding to the present:

Andy Savage admits to a “sexual incident” that happened two decades ago while he was a college student and the high school senior was seventeen. In  his official statement, Andy Savage claims he “…took every step to respond in a biblical way.”

Instead of his church removing him from office, they gave him a standing ovation this past Sunday when he talked about this matter (see here).

My thoughts on this matter:

1. Jules is a brave woman to bring this wickedness to light. My heart broke as I  watched her recount her experiences to the local news (see at bottom of post here).

2. This was NOT simply a “sexual incident.” It was sexual assault. In fact, it was clergy sexual abuse. Like a therapist having sex with his client, it is improper and not something to which she could have consented. It is an abuse of professional power.

3.While this was not adultery and does not involve a divorce of the pastor, it will be curious to see if the denominations involved dare to intervene. My understanding is the megachurch is connected to Acts 29 and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Remember, Andy Savage does not deny his sexual wrongdoing!

What he did is much worse than having one’s wife cheat on and divorce you. We will see if those associations/denominations treat it that way or if they reserve such scrutiny unjustly for the divorced.

5 thoughts on “Andy Savage, clergy sexual abuser, loses marriage book contract.”

  1. With all due respect, DM, since you are a man. But churches are run by powerful men and from my personal experience, most men stick together, cover for each other and just like like the church he worked at as a youth leader — it got covered up. Their ACTIONS showed what they cared about. They cared about appearance (Pastor Andy Savage is a great youth leader!) and in my humble opinion they didn’t care what I believe God cares about – the wounded and the brokenhearted.

    If his old church would have dealt with it in the right way years ago and everything would have been brought into the light. His victim would have never come out now. People sin, even pastors. 🙂 He obviously made a very big mistake (sin) years ago and he did the right thing by telling another pastor. The pastor he confided in made the wrong choice by covering it up and Pastor Savage should have known better then to save himself and his reputation. I totally agree that what he did was an abuse of power, but…….young men make mistakes like this. If he was truly repentant, he wouldn’t have hid it. He could have taken a long break from being a pastor and showing true repentance and changed life, I think he should have been given a second chance. And his new church? I doubt anything will happen to him. In this day and age, all a person has to do is say “I’m sorry (I got caught)” and all is forgiven; move a long there’s nothing to see here. It’s in the past! He said he was sorry and stop bringing it up!! “Can’t you forgive and forget!?” 🙂

    1. Hi Martha,
      I always appreciate your posts. I hope you don’t mind that this time I only agree with your statement, up until “but”…. “what he did was an abuse of power, but…….young men make mistakes like this”.

      In my opinion, what Youth Pastor Andy Savage did to a vulnerable high school girl was not a mistake. A mistake implies a good or reasonable motive to begin with, which didn’t turn out for the best. I’m assuming you mean something like a romantic kiss between an equal, consensual couple that ends up going a bit too far. I agree that can happen. I do agree that young men (and women) can make mistakes like that. But only in situations where one is not preying on or forcing themselves upon the other (can be done using various kinds of pressure).

      This was something different…an abuse of power, a calculated move by a bigger, older male abuser with authority and influence (Youth Pastor) to satisfy his own selfish desires at the expense of a vulnerable, smaller, young teen under his pastoral care. She was depending on his goodwill to drive her home to her mother, but instead, with him at the wheel and in control, she was “detoured” to a lonely, rural, deserted place and demanded to perform sexual favors on him. That is something entirely different, and I see it as a deliberate, grave, pre-planned assault.

      You’re right about the pastor that Andy Savage confided in, DID make the wrong choice (to cover it up).

      1. Hi Song to Joy,
        You are 100% right and I agree with what you said. I’m sorry, but I was writing late at night after being up that day since 3:00am. I didn’t express myself the right way and I’m sorry for that. Pastor Savage sexually assaulted her and abused his power as a pastor.

        What I was trying to get at by the “mistake” comment is that he was young (brains don’t fully develop by age 25) and from the account of the victim, it sounded like he instantly regretted what he did. And no, I’m not justifying his young age that made him sin like this. I was just trying to explain that it sounds like after the assault, he tried to make things right by going to his pastor/boss and that pastor not only failed the victim, but failed Pastor Savage by not taking him down to the police station and filing a report as to what he did. Then the ball would have been in the victims court as to whether she’d file charges, etc.

        I know nothing about what it takes to become a pastor, but in my first comment I was thinking that he could have served whatever punishment he had coming and then maybe he could still be a pastor someday. But now that I’m thinking about it, would I want someone who did something like this be a pastor? No, I would not, but I don’t know what the rules are for becoming a pastor.

        I do hope that Pastor Savage is truly a changed man since that night, but the fact that he didn’t respond to the email of the victim (I read the links DM gave after I posted) tells me that he just wanted her to go away and didn’t want to own up to what he did. Well, only God knows why he didn’t reply back, but that’s just the way it looks to me.

        I know most pastors are good people and are trying their best to follow the Lord and guide His sheep. But after what my ex-pastor did to me and how the men in the boys youth group supported my ex-cheater — I’m no longer as naive and trusting as I used to be. I had my guard down at church, because I was with Christians. Sadly, not everyone who say they are Christians actually are truly Christians or Christians do bad things too, even pastors. I was and still am traumatized by everything that took place in the church I brought my family to. I went to church every Sunday for close to 15 years and now I haven’t gone in way over a year. And this was all caused by people who say they are followers of Christ. I wonder if Pastor Savage’s victim had trouble going back to church after what happened to her?

  2. At least book company understands better then senior pastors…. that is a shame that senior pastors covered up and even thrown him go away party… Then later took him back knowing about his predatory act of another human being.

  3. The abuse happened 20 years ago. I haven’t heard if anyone has expressed concern that there may have been other abuse acts by Mr. Savage. Based on different things Ive read these types of abusers arent one time only 🙁

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