WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) — A pastor at a Warsaw church admitted to his congregation Sunday to what he referred to as an adulterous relationship. Then, his apparent victim came forward and said she was 16 at the time.
After the tumultuous revelations at New Life Christian Church, Pastor John Lowe II stepped down, and the Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed it was investigating the claims.
Video (watch above) of the admission was shared widely on Facebook by an attendee. As of mid-afternoon Monday, it had more than 90,000 views.
In the video, Lowe confessed: “I committed adultery” with “one person” nearly 20 years ago, and continued the relationship “far too long.”
“I have no defense,” he told the congregation. “I committed the adultery. To say it plainly: I didn’t make a mistake, I didn’t have an issue, I didn’t have an affair, I didn’t make a misjudgment – I sinned. I need to say that, and you deserve to hear it.”
Lowe asked the congregation to forgive him for the “deep wound” he has caused, and apologized to those he sinned against. He said there was “no good answer” to why it took so long to admit his wrongs but said he has repented.
Lowe then announced he was stepping down from ministry and said he would submit to the process and recommendation of the church board.
After he finished speaking, a man and woman approached the lectern. The woman told the congregation she was victimized by Lowe when she was 16, and said she’s lived in “a prison” for 27 years – not 20 years.
“You did things to my teenage body that had never and should have never been done,” she said. “If you can’t admit to the truth, you have to answer to God. You are not the victim here.”
She continued: “The church deserves to know the truth. This church has been built on lies, but no more. The lies need to stop.”
The woman said she spent years feeling like a “horrible person” with suicidal thoughts until two weeks ago, when her brother approached her about a memory of seeing his younger sister in bed with his pastor.
“The lies and manipulation have to stop,” she said.
After the woman left the stage, members of the congregation shouted at Lowe.
“If you did it, you need to admit it,” one man yelled.
“We need to hear from our pastor,” another said.
Lowe responded: “I told you I committed adultery and I told you it went on far too long.”
“I can’t do anything about that except to tell you, if I could go back and redo it all, I would. I can’t, and all I can do is ask for you to forgive me.”
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to WANE 15 on Monday that there is a pending investigation into the matter. No other information was provided, however.
As of Monday, the New Life Facebook page had been shut down.
Lowe remains listed as the church’s lead pastor on its website.