WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) — Indiana State Police has taken over the investigation into years-old allegations of sexual misconduct levied against a Warsaw pastor by a woman who said she was 16 at the time.
Allegations against Pastor John Lowe II of New Life Christian Church were first reported to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office in the wake of revelations made public during a May 22 service at the church. The claims made by a woman of the congregation were streamed live on Facebook.
The sheriff’s office apparently had a conflict of interest in the case, though.
“Because of the past relationship between the church and sheriff’s office, the decision was made to immediately contact the Indiana State Police,” Sgt. Chris Francis said.
In a two-sentence news release Wednesday, state police spokesman Sgt. Ted Bohner of the Bremen Post said the agency had “recently been made aware of allegations concerning New Life Christian Church & World Outreach.”
Bohner asked that anyone with information “as a victim or a witness” call the Indiana State Police Bremen Post Criminal Investigations Division at (574) 546-4900.
Francis said sheriff’s office personnel were “actively assisting” state police detectives with the investigation.
WANE 15 reached out to the Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday, and received this emailed response:
“After reviewing the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Hampton is not permitted to disseminate any information regarding alleged misconduct. Thank You.“
In the video of the service, Lowe confessed to the congregation: “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 Lowe 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.”