Community members hold protest outside New Life Christian Church
WARSAW, Ind. --- People in Warsaw came together outside of New Life Church this morning to protest. This comes after former Pastor, John Lowe, admitted to having sexual relations decades ago with a female member of the church when she was 16 years old.
There have been additional accusations of sexual misconduct from members of the congregation since the alleged victim first spoke out.
The community members protested in hopes that the Prosecutor's office will look into pressing charges against Lowe. In addition, protestors say they won't give up the fight until New Life is shut down for good.
“This church needs dissolved," says Zoie Lamar to the protestors. "It needs shut down."
“This church just needs to be shut down," says former New Life Church member Melissa Holstein. "Like, there’s no fixing this. There’s no fixing that much corruption.”
Dozens of Warsaw community members came out with their posters on Sunday morning protesting New Life Christian Church after former Pastor John Lowe admitted to having sexual relations with a female member of the church more than two decades ago. The alleged victim was 16-years-old when the relations started.
Lowe stepped down from his position and involvement at New Life, but protestors say that's not enough with the number of people that have come forward alleging they too, were victims.
“Every, I want to say, hour I’ve been getting a message of somebody else stepping forward of having abuse from this church itself," Lamar tells the protestors. “It’s going to keep happening until they shut it down.”
Mikaela Whitfield joined the protest and held a poster that read 'Protect the Children'. She hopes that action will be taken against the Church. She says she wants to prevent children from enduring any sexual misconduct, like she claims she did.
“I was a child; five, six. When I got older it stopped," Makaela Whitfield says. “I dealt with it in silence. I was scared to come out. I was scared no one would believe me.”
A former member of the church says that after learning the alleged victim was 16 when the sexual misconduct started, she realized she had unknowingly put her daughter into the dangerous hands of the church.
“She was sixteen, it’s just horrible and disgusting," says former member Lena Holstein.
"Which is the same age she was when we went here," says Melissa Holstein about her daughter, Lena. "As a parent, you want to do the right thing, you want to have your kids go to church and do the typical American family thing, and then you know you put your child in harm’s way.”
Whitfield tells me with the support of protestors and more people telling their stories, they will continue to speak out against New Life until justice is served for the growing number of people saying they were sexually abused.
“They say they’re getting him counseling. Where’s my counseling? Where’s the care for what I need? Why is it about him? He’s not the victim," Whitfield says. “I’m not getting support from some of my own family, so for strangers to be here for me and support me and help me stand up for the truth really means a lot. And it really just heals my inner child and brings her justice that she deserves.”
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor's office has confirmed that there is a pending investigation into the sexual misconduct, but no charges have been filed at this time.