Pastor confesses to affair in front of congregation; woman gets him to admit she was 16
WARSAW, Ind. (WPTA/Gray News) - The Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirmed with WPTA an investigation is underway involving a pastor at a church.
The prosecutors’ office wouldn’t share details about the investigation, including whether it is connected to a Facebook Live video from Sunday.
The video was streamed from inside the New Life Christian Church on Sunday.
During that broadcast, Pastor John Lowe can be heard telling the congregation, “I committed adultery. It was nearly 20 years ago.” He went on to say that he “makes no excuse for his sin” and that he wasn’t disciplined and would not “use the Bible to defend himself.”
“I have no defense. I committed the adultery,” he said.
Lowe asked for forgiveness and then told the congregation he was stepping down from “ministry responsibilities.”
The congregation applauded.
A woman and her husband then spoke before the crowd. The woman said she lived in a “prison of lies and shame” for 27 years. She then said she is a prisoner no longer. “If you can’t admit the truth, you have to answer to God,” she said to Lowe. “You are not the victim here.”
“The lies need to stop,” she said. “A partial truth is not true.”
“It was wrong,” Lowe said again as he spoke from the podium. “If I could go back and redo it all I would. I can’t. All I can do is ask you to forgive me.” The congregation then gathered around Lowe and prayed.
At one point someone in the crowd brings up the age of the woman at the time she alleges the pastor started the relationship. Lowe responded, “16 years old, OK.” He then added, “It was wrong.”
WPTA has found no record showing that any charges involving Lowe have been filed.
The station also spoke with a public information officer with Indiana State Police who said he cannot confirm whether they “have or had” an investigation into John Lowe.
A message was left with the New Life Christian Church and World Outreach office seeking comment from Lowe. That comment came Monday evening in the form of a statement published on the church’s Facebook page.
“In the wake of what has now been revealed, 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. It is our deepest prayer and commitment to love, support, encourage and help her,” the statement said in part. It also addressed Lowe.
“Our brokenness extends to Pastor John B. Lowe I, his wife and family as well. For 42 years, New Life has taught and preached a Cross-driven message of repentance, forgiveness and restoration; a ministry of reconciliation which has been both led and modeled by Pastors John and Debbie Lowe through a process of healing in any way in which we are able,” the statement said.
Indiana University Law Professor Jody Madeira explained Indiana laws relevant to this case.
“There is one particular offense that could apply, which is called child seduction,” she said. “This applies when people in positions of trust or authority of a child, law enforcement, mental health practitioners, or anyone with a professional relationship with the child,” she says, “It affects children between 16 and 18 years old. Again, these people use their professional relationship to engage in sexual conduct with a child, and that is the offense of child seduction.”
The statute of limitations set by Indiana Code 35-41-4-2 covers several sexual offenses involving children, Madeira explained.
“Normally it says that these crimes must be prosecuted before the victim reaches the age of 31; however, there’s an exception to that. The exception is basically that if the state obtains a recording, a confession that provides evidence sufficient to charge the crime,” she said.
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