MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A publishing house has canceled plans to publish a book by a Tennessee pastor who has been accused of sexual assault.
The New York Times report Christian publisher Bethany House announced Monday that it has canceled publication of “The Ridiculously Good Marriage” by Andy Savage. The publisher said the book may remain on retail websites for a short time until those are updated.
On Wednesday, Downline Ministries also announced Highpoint Church’s lead pastor, Chris Conlee, will no longer be speaking at their upcoming conference.
The moves come after a woman claimed Savage sexually assaulted her while she was a 17-year-old high school senior in Texas in 1998. Savage made a statement on the website of Highpoint Church in Memphis, acknowledging he was involved in a sexual incident with a female high school student while he was a college student on staff at a Texas church.
A Tennessee pastor received a standing ovation for confessing to a past sexual assaulting. His accuser, who felt the need to speak up in the wake of the "me too" movement, says she feels like his apology is "somewhat half-hearted." https://t.co/aQ9lLe0ZHx pic.twitter.com/3IElKiG293
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 10, 2018
Savage said he took every step to respond in a ‘biblical way,’ then resigned from his position at the Church and moved back to Memphis.
“I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation,” Savage said in a statement.
According to Savage, no other incident occurred before or after that incident in Texas.
“I was wrong and I accepted responsibility for my actions. I was sorry then and remain so today,” Savage said.
He also stated that he told church leaders at Highpoint about what happened before he was hired.
Conlee confirmed that information.
“This information is not new to me or to our leadership,” he said in a released statement. “As one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas. In addition, for more than 16 years, I have watched Andy strive to live a godly life and proactively share what he has learned to help others.
On behalf of the elders, pastors, staff, and Trustees of Highpoint, I want to affirm that we are 100% committed to Andy, Amanda, and their family and his continued ministry at Highpoint Church. We ask for your prayers and support for all involved.”