Texas pastor placed on leave in connection to sex assault allegations against Minnesota megachurch minister

A pastor in Texas has been placed on leave from his church due in part to the recent sexual assault allegations against Minnesota megachurch minister Andy Savage, who was working in a church in Houston when the alleged incident happened.

(REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson)A vendor sells #MeToo badges. November 14, 2017

After a woman named Jules Woodson came forward and accused Highpoint Church pastor Andy Savage of sexually assaulting her when she was still in her teenage years in 1998, the Memphis minister admitted that a sexual "incident" did happen at the time. However, he said he had told the church what happened before he was hired, WMC Action News 5 reported.

In an interview with WMC on Jan. 6, Woodson said she had grappled with the incident all her life. She also alleged that the leaders at the Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church --- which is now called Stonebridge Church --- covered up for Savage and never reported it to the authorities.

Pastor Larry Cotton, who had served as an associate pastor at Stonebridge from 1995 to 2010, has reportedly been put on leave in connection with the sexual assault allegations against Savage. Austin Stone Community Church's director of communications, John Yeng, explained that the move was appropriate as an investigation is still being conducted.

"In light of the seriousness of these accusations against Larry Cotton, we feel that due diligence is appropriate to ensure Larry's qualification for his current role of leadership," said Yeng in a statement. "In order to remove our potential bias from the situation, we have placed Larry on a leave of absence while an investigation by a third-party organization is undertaken. We will provide a full report to the church after its completion."

Savage, on the other hand, received a standing ovation from his Highpoint congregation after he confessed to what happened and asked forgiveness from Woodson. Nevertheless, Woodson said the apology did not change the alleged wrong that was done to her 20 years ago, CBS News said.

In a statement issued on Jan. 8, Stonebridge senior pastor Steve Bradley denied being part of the alleged cover-up on the incident. In fact, he said Savage was terminated after confessing about what happened and asking forgiveness from Woodson and her parents, among many others.