A church pastor in Indiana publicly confessed to his congregation this week that he’d committed “adultery” two decades ago—but he was quickly called out by a woman who took the stage to say she had only been 16 when he preyed on her.
The public confrontation that played out Sunday at the New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw has now sparked an investigation by local prosecutors in Kosciusko County, according to local reports.
Video of the incident shot by an attendee quickly went viral on Facebook, where commentators applauded the woman for coming forward.
The footage shows the pastor, John Lowe II, announce his resignation from the stage after he revealed that he had “committed adultery.”
“It was nearly 20 years ago. It continued far too long. It involved one person, and there’s been no other, nor any other situations of unbecoming conduct for the last 20 years,” Lowe told parishioners.
As soon as he walked off the stage, a man and a woman walked up and grabbed the microphone to drop a bombshell.
“For 27 years, I lived in a prison … prison of lies, lying to protect the Lowe family. For years, I thought I was a horrible person, having suicidal thoughts, not realizing what had truly been done to me,” the woman, identified only as Bobbi, said.
“I would still be in a prison if my brother... had not approached me just two weeks ago with what he had seen as a teenager that bothered him all these years: his pastor in bed with his younger sister, a T-shirt and underwear on,” she told the shocked crowd. “The lies and the manipulation have to stop. I was a prisoner and you kept me in your prison. I’m a prisoner no longer. I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that?”
“You did things to my teenage body that had never, and should have never, been done,” she told Lowe directly, adding, “you are not the victim here.”
The woman’s husband also spoke, lamenting the “shame and guilt” he said his wife had felt for decades after the pastor “groomed” her as a teen.
“People have to be held accountable, and they can’t just bamboozle people and just say, ‘Well I just committed adultery.’ It was far beyond adultery,” he said, before the couple walked off stage.
The crowd quickly began chanting calls for the pastor to “admit” what he’d done, and Lowe returned to the stage to repeat his claim that he’d “committed adultery” before the audience pressed him to acknowledge the girl had been underage.
“It was wrong, … I can’t make it right. That’s just the way it is,” he said. “If I could go back and redo it all, I would. I can’t. All I can do is ask you to forgive me,” he said.
The church released a statement Monday acknowledging the “improper sexual conduct.”
“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 said.
The statement went on to note that “our brokenness also extends to Pastor John B. Lowe II, his wife and family,” to whom the church would strive to offer “support” and “forgiveness.”