Indiana church says it confronted pastor about sex with teen
WARSAW, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana pastor who confessed to “adultery” years ago with a teenager publicly informed his congregation last weekend after church leaders confronted him, the church said Tuesday.
John Lowe II has resigned, New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw said in a statement on its website.
Lowe, 65, told church members Sunday that he had “committed adultery” and wanted their forgiveness. Moments later, a woman stepped to the microphone and said the pastor had a sexual relationship with her when she was 16, according to video.
“It was 27 years ago, not 20. ... I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do,” she said as Lowe stood nearby.
She said the “lies and the manipulation have to stop.”
The church said leaders confronted Lowe recently after the woman told others about a “long-held secret.” The church said the sexual conduct continued into her 20s.
“We are hurting and broken for a woman who has lovingly attended and served in the church for many years, as well as for her husband and family,” the church’s statement said. “It is our deepest prayer and commitment to love, support, encourage and help her through a process of healing in any way in which we are able.”
The church said “none of this” was previously known by staff.
No one answered the phone at the church Tuesday.
TV stations reported that the Kosciusko County prosecutor is investigating. Daniel Hampton’s office declined to comment Tuesday.
“I will not use the Bible to defend, protect, deflect my past sin,” Lowe told his congregation. “I have no defense. I committed the adultery. To say it plainly, I didn’t make a mistake. ... I sinned.”
Church members stood and applauded Lowe. After the woman’s extraordinary remarks, a few dozen people walked up to encircle and support the pastor while another man led a prayer.
Lowe’s family is deeply involved in the church. His wife, Debra Lowe, is co-pastor, son Bryan Lowe is associate pastor and daughter Brightie Lowe is community pastor, according to the website.