Protestors call on Warsaw church to shut down amidst sexual abuse allegations
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - One week after a Warsaw pastor is accused of sexually assaulting a teenager, protestors are calling on New Life Christian Church in Warsaw to shut down.
“We feel like the church needs to be shut down. We don’t want any counseling for this. We need it shut down because for now, we see them as a parasite to the community prying on children,” Voices Against Injustice activist Zoie Lamar told 16 News Now at a protest outside the church Sunday.
It all comes just seven days after former pastor John Lowe confessed to committing adultery nearly 20 years ago. In a confession before the congregation, Lowe addressed that his “sinful relationship” was indeed with a woman who says she was just 16-year-old at the time.
“I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office room floor,” a woman who says she was victimized by Lowe told the congregation last week.
One week later, community members lined up to show their support not only for the woman who came forward, “We will not but stand with anybody who stands with pedophiles here in Kosciusko County,” Lamar said.
But folks also stood up for those who haven’t come forward until now.
“With everyone coming to light, I finally had the courage to speak out about this and seek the justice I deserve,” Makaila Whitfield says.
Whitfield says an usher at the church began sexually abusing her as early as five-years-old.
“Yesterday, I went in and confronted my abuser who attends New Life Church. He has attended this place his whole entire life. He molested me when I was a child. I’m not the only one. This has been a generational thing. I confronted him and all he had to say is he was sorry,” Whitfield says.
Whitfield adds while she will look to seek charges against her alleged abuser, she hopes sharing her story will help other potential victims to have the courage to come forward.
“They say they are getting him counseling. Where is my counseling? Where is the care for what I need? Why is it about him? He’s not the victim. It’s really hard to speak out about it, but I encourage everyone to be strong and speak the truth because the truth must come out. That will set us free to be able to heel and move on from this,” Whitfield says.
New Life Christian Church did not hold in-person services on Sunday. Instead, services were moved to online.
As for Lowe, police are investigating the allegations brought against him. However, no charges have been filed against Lowe or any others who have been accused of sexual abuse so far.
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