Tennessee megachurch pastor Andy Savage will not face charges for a 1998 Texas incident in which Savage reportedly asked a 17-year-old high school senior for oral sex before allegedly groping her.
What's in the statement?
According to a Wednesday report by WATN-TV, Texas law enforcement officials said that Savage will not be charged with a crime because the statute of limitations in this case no longer applies.
WATN reported that the Montgomery County District Attorney's office said that they "researched the law that would have applied in 1998 for the statute of limitations" and found that the time to report the alleged incident covered by statute of limitations has passed.
"Using the current statute we would have some possible options but we are limited to the law as it was at the time of the offense in 1998," the statement added. "As a result we are unable to investigate and seek justice to the full extent of what would we normally would in such a case."
What's the background?
Savage, now 42, admitted that he had a "sexual incident" with former parishioner Jules Woodson when he was a staff member at her suburban Houston church.
Speaking to his church congregation on Sunday at Memphis' Highpoint Church, Savage publicly admitted the reported incident, which Woodson — who was inspired by the #MeToo movement — recently resurfaced on the website Watch Keep.
"When this happened 20-plus years ago, I did everything I knew to do under the counsel I was given to cooperate with those involved, to repent of my sins, take responsibility for my actions, and seek forgiveness," Savage told the congregants. "I never sought to cover this up."
"My repentance over this sin 20 years ago was done believing that God’s forgiveness is greater than any sin," Savage continued, naming Woodson among those to whom he apologized. "And I still believe that."
Savage concluded, "For any painful memories or fresh wounds this has created for anyone, I am sorry. And I humbly ask for your forgiveness."
Is there anything else?
Woodson, who told The New York Times on Tuesday that she planned to file a police report on the 1998 incident, spoke to WMC-TV last week, where she said that Savage lied about how he reportedly handled the incident.
"His apology isn't enough because number one, he's lying about how he handled it," she said. "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."
"This is something I've struggled with all my life," Woodson admitted.
A Change.org petition has called for Savage to resign from Highpoint Church. At the time of this writing, the petition has received over 2,000 signatures.
On Monday, Bethany House, a Christian publishing company, said it had canceled the July publication of his book, “The Ridiculously Good Marriage.”