A pastor at a megachurch in Tennessee was given a standing ovation by his congregation after admitting to a “sexual incident” with a high school student.
Andy Savage’s confession at the Highpoint Church in Memphis came days after Jules Woodson, who was 17 at the time, accused him of sexually assaulting her in Texas 20 years ago.
In a blog post, Ms Woodson claims Mr Savage was driving her home when he took her to a wooded area and assaulted her.
Mr Savage, who said he had sinned and asked his church for forgiveness, did not give the congregation details of Ms Woodson’s allegations.
He said before she went public with her story, he thought the issue had been “dealt with in Texas.”
“Until now, I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules,” Mr Savage said, in remarks live streamed on the church’s YouTube page.
“Jules, I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward forgiveness and healing.”
Ms Woodson said video of the apology and the standing ovation was “disgusting.”
She told The New York Times the issue had not been “dealt with” at the time, as it had never been reported to police.
Mr Savage’s upcoming book, The Ridiculously Good Marriage, has been cancelled by Christian publishing company Bethany House following the allegations.