Andy Savage scandal: Highpoint Church leader dropped from conference speaker line-up

The fallout from revelations about the sexual abuse of a teenage girl 20 years ago by a megachurch pastor, Andy Savage, is continuing with Savage's senior pastor removed from the speaking line-up of an upcoming Christian conference.

Highpoint Church's Pastor Chris Conlee defended Savage and stood with his arm around him when Savage read a statement apologising for the incident.

Downline Ministries, a discipleship training group, has now removed Conlee from its speaking line-up for a conference in February as the fallout from the revelations about Savage's behaviour continue.

YouTube / Highpoint churchAndy Savage (left) received a standing ovation from Highpoint Church with Chris Conlee (right) putting his arm around Savage and praying for him.

The group's president Kennon Vaughan said it was a mutual decision between Downline and Conlee and the group tweeted: 'In light of the seriousness of the accusations made by Jules Woodson against Andy Savage, we have removed Chris Conlee as a speaker at the upcoming Downline Summit. We are praying for healing for Ms Woodson, and for truth and justice for everyone involved.'

Savage is accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl when he was 20 years old and a youth pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church.

The victim, Jules Woodson, said in a blog post that she was told by Larry Cotton, who was associate pastor at the church, to 'not mention anything that had happened to anyone else'.

Cotton is now on a leave of absence following the revelations from his current role at The Austin Stone Community Church.

Google MapsHighpoint megachurch, Memphis, where Conlee is pastor.

Conlee's removal from the Downline speaker line-up is the latest development after Highpoint Church, where Savage currently works, responded to his apology with a standing ovation.

In extraordinary scenes the Memphis, Tennessee church, stood to applaud Savage's statement after he apologised, saying of the incident in 1998: 'Since then I have tried to live my life in keeping with that original act of repentance. For any painful memories or fresh memories this has created for anyone, I am sorry, and I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I love you all very much.'

Conlee, with his arm around Savage, said to the congregation: 'We are so grateful for your support. I know when you support Andy in that way, you are also supporting Ms Woodson. You are supporting her healing. You are supporting, and you are praying for her, and we are willing as individuals and as a church to do whatever we can within the scope of what it means to offer spiritual healing, to do that for Ms Woodson.'

In a tearful telephone interview with the New York Times, Woodson said of the scenes, which were streamed live on the church's YouTube page: 'It's disgusting.'

She added that the episode had not been 'dealt with' as Savage had claimed because it had never been reported to law enforcement authorities.