An Indiana pastor stood before his congregation Sunday with a “confession,“ telling those assembled at New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw he had committed “adultery” nearly 20 years ago. But moments later, a woman and her husband replaced the pastor on stage to tell a different story: She was 16 years old when she said the pastor took her virginity on his office floor.
"You did things to my teenage body that had never and should have never been done," the woman said, according to a video shared to social media.
Her remarks came after the pastor, John Lowe II, concluded the worship portion of the service by asking for "forgiveness."
"I committed adultery. It was nearly 20 years ago. It continued far too long. It involved one person and there’s been no other," he said.
Lowe added: "I’ve been asked why did I wait so long to deal with it. The answer there is no good answer. I told myself for years, silence served to protect everyone."
The pastor, who was met with applause when he introduced himself and following his disclosure, told the congregation he would be "stepping aside."
Following the applause, the woman stepped up with her partner. "If you love us, please let us talk," the partner requested.
"For 27 years I lived in prison — it was not 20 years," the woman said.
She said she had lied all that time to protect the pastor and his family, struggling with suicidal thoughts and "not realizing what had been truly done to me."
She said her older brother approached her two weeks earlier to address "what he had seen as a teenager, that bothered him all these years." She said it wasn't until then that she realized she had been victimized.
"I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do," she said directly to Lowe. "I could give story after story to what you did to me."
She said she tried to talk to someone at the time, but those around the pastor covered it up. No one ever offered counseling, she said.
Her husband added that the relationship had gone on for nine years. "It’s not just adultery; it’s another level when it’s a teenager," he said.
Lowe briefly addressed the congregation again. Some people shouted questions at him.
“It was wrong,” Lowe said. “... I can’t make it right.”
"If I could go back and redo it all I would," he said. "It’s been 20 years, I guess it doesn’t count for anything."
A number of people then surrounded him to pray. The woman and her husband walked down a church aisle toward the back.
Lowe did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
A statement from New Life Christian Church and World Outreach said Lowe resigned on Monday.
"To all concerned, please be assured that, until now, none of this was disclosed to or known by any of the staff, ministers or personnel of New Life," the statement said.
The "long-held secret" was revealed when the woman, who has attended the church for years, "came forward and disclosed the relationship to various people within the church."
"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's statement said.
CBS affiliate WANE of Fort Wayne reported that the Kosciusko County prosecutor’s office is investigating. But in a statement to NBC News, an office spokesperson said: "After reviewing the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Hampton is not permitted to disseminate any information regarding alleged misconduct."
Lowe's bio, which remains on the New Life Christian Church and World Outreach website, said he has been in ministry for 37 years and “mentors lead pastors, conducts faith conferences, marriage and family conferences and more.”
He is listed as the head pastor, along with two co-pastors, both of whom are women.