Women's advocacy expert sheds light on sexual abuse following allegations about Warsaw Pastor

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WARSAW, Ind., --- Popular Warsaw Pastor John Lowe II of New Life Christian Church admitted to having sex with a church member starting when she was just a 16-years-old. The alleged victim confronted the pastor in front of the entire congregation Sunday, decades after it started and some are asking why it took it her so long to come forward.

ABC57 spoke to women’s empowerment experts who said it’s not uncommon for sexual abuse survivors to wait years to share their story because of the stigma behind speaking out.

“I have wanted to talk to somebody all of these years, and never- You have! You have somebody that you've talked to. I never have. The Church deserves to know the truth,” said the alleged victim who spoke out in front of the congregation at the church’s Sunday service.

The female member alleged Pastor Lowe had sex with her for nine years starting when she was just 16-years-old.

The woman came forward more than two decades later, something experts said is not uncommon for sexual abuse survivors to do.

“There also can be feelings of nobody will believe them or fear of repercussions of what might happen if they come forward, so there are tons of reasons why someone might not feel safe or comfortable coming forward,” said Jennifer Rohlf, the Director of Empowerment for YWCA Northeast Indiana.

The alleged victim’s testimony gave others like a woman who said she was married to Pastor Lowe’s middle son the courage to come forward about abuse she said she experienced within the church as well.

“The woman who stood up and her husband, I love them. I am thankful for them that they, it took a long time and this has been a long time coming for so many of us that have been hurt by that church by that leadership so I’m thankful for her that she was the voice that is letting all of this come out,” said Abbey Plummer a Former Member of the church.

Experts said with more cases like these starting to come to light, they believe it’s important to foster a safe environment for survivors to come forward no matter when they decide to do so.

 “I think a lot of it is just education in our communities with young people and adults about what is healthy, what is unhealthy and different relationship dynamics as well education around consent, and what does consent really mean,” explained Rohlf.

Former church members ABC57 spoke with said they’d like to see the whole family step down from ministering in addition to Pastor Lowe.

At last check the Kosciusko County’s Prosecutors office said this is a pending investigation.

For more information on sexual abuse resources click here.

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