Megachurch pastor Andy Savage resigns after admitting to ‘sexual incident’ with teen

Andy Savage (CNN)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis, Tennessee, megachurch pastor who confessed to a sexual encounter with a teenager has resigned.

In a January church service, congregants broke into 25 seconds of applause after pastor Andy Savage, 42, confessed to a 1998 “sexual incident” with a teen and asked for their forgiveness.

“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,” he said during a Sunday service. “I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation. … I took every step to respond in a biblical way.”

Savage was 22 at the time and a youth minister at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church outside Houston.

Highpoint Church issued a leave of absence for Savage to begin immediately, Chris Conlee, the church’s lead pastor, said in a statement Thursday night.

Savage resigned on Tuesday and said he would “step away from ministry,” according to NBC News.