New Life Christian Church & World Outreach Pastor John B. Lowe II confessed Sunday to “committing adultery” 20 years prior and said he was stepping down, but the woman involved said it was 27 years ago when she was only a teenager and she had been Lowe’s victim.
She told her story when she and her husband took to the church stage after Lowe’s confession. The confession and confrontation were recorded by a member of the woman’s family and shared thousands of times through social media and solicited just as many comments.
Though the woman’s name and image are out on social media, the Times-Union does not release victims’ names without their consent.
Information on any criminal charges against Lowe, or other legal issues, if any, from the county prosecutor’s office were not available as of the time this story was written. However, it will be updated or followed up on as information becomes available.
In the video, Lowe begins his confession by stating, “I have an announcement for you. It’s called a confession.”
He said he and his wife Debbie have been out of town for a funeral and his absence was not about self-protection.
“We were caring for hurting people. That’s why I’m here today. To follow a Biblical process of confession, repentance and forgiveness. If God wants anything out of us … it’s to bring healing to all who are involved,” Lowe continued. “I committed adultery. It was nearly 20 years ago. It continued far too long. It involved one person and there’s been no other nor any other situation of unbecoming conduct for the last 20 years.”
He said he would not use the Bible to defend, deflect or protect his past sin.
“I have no defense. I committed the adultery,” Lowe stated, acknowledging his “sin.”
Lowe said he’s been asked why he’s waited so long to deal with it and hide it all these years.
“The answer: There is no good answer. I told myself for years silence served to protect everyone, the other person, those closest to her from the hurt, from the public embarrassment. And I’d like to think that was true, but the truth is, the silence was to protect myself as well,” he said.
While applying church discipline for sexual failure, for repentance, confession, for restoration to others, Lowe admitted he himself has not been disciplined for sexual misconduct.
“Twenty years ago, I repented. Now the day for this fresh hurt, I ask you to forgive me for the deep wound I have caused. I’ll make no excuse for my sin, the betrayal of deep friendship, trust and love are beyond my ability to express,” Lowe said.
He said the church is engaged in the Biblical process to restore the congregation’s trust to the ministry for the next few weeks. He said he confessed his sin to his wife and family and they forgave him. He also repented to those he sinned against and those wounded from the fresh hurt.
In accordance with the church’s by-laws, Lowe said he was stepping aside, stepping down from the ministry and responsibilities and “have committed to the Lord and now to you that I will submit to the process and recommendations of this board.”
As he finished his comments and stepped off the stage, some members of the congregation stood up and applauded and that’s when the woman and her husband took to the stand and microphone.
The husband stated, “If you love us, please let us talk.”
The woman began, “For 27 years, I lived in a prison. It was not 20 years. I lived in a prison of lies and shame. Lying to protect the Lowe family for years. I thought I was a horrible person, having suicidal thoughts, not realizing what had truly been done to me. That I was a victim and I would still be in a prison if my brother … had not approached me, just two weeks ago, with what he had seen as a teenager that bothered him all these years: His pastor, in bed, with his younger sister, with a T-shirt and underwear on.”
She said people knew but were too afraid to come forward and they have now.
“The lies and the manipulation have to stop. I was a prisoner and you kept me in your prison,” the woman said to Lowe. “I’m a prisoner no longer.”
She was only 16 when Lowe took her virginity on his office floor, she said. “Do you remember that?” she asked him. “I know you do and I have plenty of other stories that I could bring to your remembrance. You did things to my teenage body that had never and should have never been done. If you can’t admit the truth, you have to answer to God. You are not the victim.”
The woman said she tried to tell someone but all that was done was cover up. No one ever came to her, no one ever helped her, no one ever got her counseling, she said.
“I have wanted to talk to somebody all of these years and never … you have. You have somebody that you talk to. I never have,” she said. “The church deserves to know the truth. This church has been built on lies, but no more. The lies need to stop. I could give story after story after story of what you did to me.”
She said Lowe was not the victim and a partial truth is not true. Speaking to one of Lowe’s sons, the woman said if she would have gotten counseling, “your dad would be in prison.”
She also mentions a cover-up of a church associate pastor who allegedly molested his own two daughters but was sent away to be a pastor at another church.
The husband then takes the microphone and says, “Listen. My wife – it’s not just adultery, it’s another level when it’s a teenager, and I will not let this man talk about my wife like that. It happened for nine years. When she was 15, 16, the sexual grooming started. It lasted until she met me and we started dating. This is the truth and that’s all we’re going to say.”
He then returned a necklace that was given to his wife as a ministry gift and her purity ring that she wore even while Lowe had sex with her, the husband explained.
“We are working through love and forgiveness. We are working through it. But people have to be held accountable and they can’t just bamboozle people and just say, ‘Well, I just committed adultery.’ It was far beyond adultery,” the husband said.
As the couple left, they were hugged and a man shouted, “If you did it, you need to admit it! 100%!”
Lowe stated he said he committed adultery and that he said it went on for far too long. He also then admited she was 16 years old when they started having sex and it was wrong.
As he talked about asking for forgiveness and being sorry, one woman said, “We love you, Pastor.” While a portion of the congregation gathered around Lowe to pray with and for him, other members of the church left.