WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) — Warsaw has become the talk of newsrooms and watercoolers around the country.
Sunday morning, a Warsaw pastor resigned after confessing to adultery in a shocking church service. Moments later, a woman in his congregation accused him of imprisoning her in a sexual relationship that began when she was 16 years old.
The revelations and accusations were aired in a live video on Facebook, which was shared hundreds of times. By Tuesday, residents of Warsaw were well aware of what took place at New Life Christian Church involving Pastor John Lowe II.
The revelations and accusations were aired in a live video on Facebook, which was shared hundreds of times. WANE 15’s story was picked up by stations and networks across the country, including CBS News, the Washington Post and more.
WANE 15 visited Kosciusko County and spoke with a handful of residents, including the mayor, and all admitted they knew about the circumstances.
One woman said she remembered Lowe from a church commercial.
“I don’t like to judge people,” she said. “I was hoping that maybe he really was the really strong Christian that he portrayed he was. Yes, he can be a Christian and still screw up, mess up. This was supposed to be several years ago that it happened. We all make mistakes, and this may be the only time it happened. People are weak. We all have weaknesses.”
She added: “If she was only 16, that’d be a lot more than just adultery.”
Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer said he was shocked and saddened by the news.
“I have two daughters and I can’t imagine what I would do if anything like that ever happened to them,” he said, adding that he felt bad for the victim and her family.
“I don’t know exactly what went on, I’m not privy to the details, just what’s been reported on social media which isn’t always accurate. This is certainly a congregational matter within the church, that’s what it started out to be, and obviously the nature of it says it’s more than that,” he added.
Thallemer said he doesn’t know anyone involved in the situation, but said he was “saddened that someone had to go through that, saddened for the congregation, it’s very unfortunate.”
The mayor said that all the churches in the Warsaw community are influential.
“It’s trust and I don’t think it’s endemic to our city or anywhere else. You never know the details until they come out,” Thallemer said. “I can’t imagine the hurt the church is going through, and the victim. It’s just shocking.”
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to WANE 15 that there is a pending investigation into the matter involving Lowe. No other information was provided, however.
In a statement late Monday, the church said the allegations levied against Lowe had not been disclosed to staff, ministers or personnel.
“As with the church in general and the public at large, we too are responding to this without anticipation; praying and striving only to see that the Lord’s good, perfect and eternal plans will ultimately and visibly prevail. Life is messy. Believers are messy. Church is messy. God is not,” the church said in a statement.
WANE 15 attempted to speak with staff members from New Life Christian Church. Before our crews could get out their vehicle in the church parking lot, someone from the church came outside stating they had nothing more to comment on the situation.
Attempts by WANE 15 to reach Lowe and those who attended Sunday’s service have been unsuccessful.