Indiana Pastor Resigns Over Alleged Sex with Teen And Decades of Cover-Up

By Sarah Einselen
indiana church cover-up
On May 22, 2022, a couple confronts Pastor John Lowe during a service at New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana, saying the minister's impromptu confession of "adultery" was incomplete. (Video screen grab) 

An Indiana pastor has resigned after a woman accused him publicly during a church service this weekend of sexually abusing her for years, beginning when she was 16. A second victim has also come forward, alleging a years long cover-up of sexual abuse within the church.

On Sunday, Pastor John B. Lowe II of New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana, confessed in front of his church that he had committed “adultery” decades ago and received applause from the congregation.

But his alleged victim said Lowe’s confession didn’t match his misconduct.

john lowe indiana church
John Lowe

And Lowe resigned Monday after news of the woman’s allegations spread, and local media report a criminal investigation is pending.

Now, a former church member and her mother have come forward alleging further cover-up. Jessica “Jessi” Kline, now in her late 20s, says Lowe tried to keep it secret when she disclosed 15 years ago that she had been molested by a relative of Lowe’s who also volunteered in the children’s ministry.

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The Roys Report (TRR) is not naming this relative because he has not been charged with a crime related to the alleged molestation.

The alleged victim’s mother, Kris Kline, told TRR she called authorities after she found out Lowe had not reported the crime. But a Child Protective Services investigation did not lead to criminal charges, she said, because prosecutors determined there wasn’t enough evidence.

‘They can’t just bamboozle people’

“I committed adultery,” Lowe says in a video posted to Facebook by a family member in the audience Sunday. The confession came at the end of the morning service, according to a church statement, but the livestream cut off moments beforehand.

“It was nearly 20 years ago,” Lowe said of his misconduct. “It continued far too long, it involved one person, there’s been no other, nor any other situations of unbecoming conduct for the last 20 years.”

Lowe said his public statement was part of “the biblical process of confession, repentance, and forgiveness.” He also announced he was stepping down from ministerial duties.

Immediately after Lowe’s statement, a woman and her husband stepped up on stage and told the congregation that Lowe was misleading them about what he had actually done.

The woman said Lowe had groomed her as a teenager and had sex with her, starting when she was just 16. The woman said her brother recently told her he had witnessed at least some of the abuse.

The woman said she “tried to tell someone, but all that was done was cover-up.”

“If I would’ve gotten counseling, your dad would be in prison,” she told Lowe’s son, associate pastor Bryan Lowe, during the confrontation Sunday.

TRR is not identifying the woman since she’s an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

The abuse continued for nine years, the woman’s husband said.

“We’re working through love and forgiveness . . .” he told the congregation. “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 video shows that someone else led a prayer for John Lowe after the couple left the stage. At least a couple dozen church members laid hands on him, too.

The moment was reminiscent of when Andy Savage’s megachurch gave him a standing ovation after his confession, which minimized his sexual assault of a 17-year-old.

Indiana church cover-up
On May 22, 2022, members of New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana pray for Pastor John Lowe after he admitted to “adultery.” (Video screen grab)

The Facebook video went viral and by midday Monday had thousands of comments condemning the church. New Life Christian Church and World Outreach published a statement late Monday saying Lowe had resigned that day, after 42 years leading the church.

The church stated that the woman had “disclosed the relationship” to others in the church, spurring leadership to confront Lowe. He then confessed to “adultery,” according to the statement.

The statement also acknowledged that the woman “tearfully described living with deep shame and pain” as she recounted her story to the congregation on Sunday.

“In the wake of what has now been revealed, we are hurting and broken for a woman who has lovingly attended and served in the church for many years, as well as for her husband and family,” the church stated. “. . . Our brokenness extends to Pastor John B. Lowe II, his wife and family as well.”

The statement does not use the word “abuse” or “abusive” to describe Lowe’s misconduct. Experts in clergy sexual abuse say the term should be used for any sexualized behavior happening in a church context where one person has more power than the other.

The ‘biblical’ way

Jessi Kline told TRR that Sunday wasn’t the first time Lowe had tried to cover up allegations of sexual abuse.

Kline, who wanted TRR to use her real name and picture, said she grew up going to New Life and attending its private school, where her mother worked.

jessi kline cover-up
Jessi Kline (Courtesy Photo)

That changed in late 2006, when Kline was 13. That’s when Kline disclosed that John Lowe’s relative had molested her while babysitting Kline and her brother several years before, Kline told TRR.

Kline said she first disclosed her abuse to a friend during a youth group meeting, who immediately disclosed the abuse to Kline’s youth pastor, Bryan Lowe. Lowe then called a meeting with Kline’s parents, who were attending an adult service during the youth group meeting. Within an hour, the family had disclosed the abuse to John Lowe and his wife, Debbie Lowe, Kline said.

“We told them what happened and they weren’t surprised,” Jessi Kline’s mother, Kris Kline, recalled. The Lowes called their relative into the room, she said, and he confessed to the alleged molestation in front of Kris, her husband at the time, and the Lowes.

“They wanted to keep it between us—handle it within the church in, of course, the ‘biblical’ way,” Kris Kline said. The Lowes promised to get their offending relative counseling, but “they kept doing nothing,” she added.

TRR sought the church’s response to the Klines’ allegations but did not hear back.

Kris Kline grew “livid” after finding out later that the relative was continuing to volunteer in the nursery during church services.

“He should not be allowed to be in there, caring for other people’s children, after what he did to my daughter,” Kris Kline recalled telling John Lowe.

She said John Lowe responded with excuses and baseless accusations against her. So she told the same thing to children’s ministry leaders, she said.

She learned that church members were later told the Klines were “making a mountain out of a molehill” and trying to destroy the church.

kris kline indiana church
Kris Kline (Courtesy Photo)

Kris Kline said she quit working at the church’s private school and transferred her kids elsewhere in the middle of the academic year to separate them from Jessi’s alleged molester. Kris said she also went to police, after learning the Lowes had not reported the crime.

Documentation shows a Child Protective Services investigation took place. But no criminal charges were filed because there wasn’t enough evidence, she said.

Jessi Kline told TRR that at 13, she could remember some details about the molestation—like her babysitter sending her brother out of the room to get something to drink. But she had repressed much of the traumatic incident, she said. And she didn’t feel ready at the time to pursue a civil case.

“I just wanted it to all go away,” Jessi Kline recalled.

She likened the church’s culture to a cult.

“There’s a narcissistic leader who is very charismatic,” Jessi Kline said. “There’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of brainwashing, manipulation, and he has his loyal followers.

“And then people who speak up against it are outcasts. And that was my family included.”

Jessi’s mother added that almost no one from the church came to their aid in the aftermath of Jessi’s disclosure, even as she changed churches, got a new job, and dealt with severe illness.

“I felt like we were let down by every Christian, every church, the law enforcement, everything,” Kris Kline said.

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.

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20 thoughts on “Indiana Pastor Resigns Over Alleged Sex with Teen And Decades of Cover-Up”

  1. Julia Simpson

    It isn’t a relationship. And yes, very reminiscent of Andy Savage. The issue is not forgiveness – but actual repentance. Stepping down is not enough. This is sexual assault.

    1. i’m getting extremely tired of the word ‘repentance’. After the words “broken” and “brokenhearted”, it’s the most hollow, meaningless word christians (especially christian men) say these days.

      i must prefer the word Restitution.

  2. That video is truly devastating to watch. She was so brave to stand up and reveal the truth to the congregation right after that craven abuser lied to her face to save himself and his career.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the statute of limitations for statutory rape of someone 16 or over is only 5 years in Indiana, which is unusually short, so the pastor is unlikely to be facing criminal charges.

    1. The charge would have to be child seduction, and the statute of limitations ran on the victim’s 31st birthday. BUT, the pastor’s confession on video constitutes new evidence that may give the State another 5 years to file from the date of confession. See Indiana Code 35-41-4-2(e) and (p).

  3. I just can’t believe the way that cultchurch gave the “pastor” a standing ovation for his confession. And then when his victim stood up and bravely told the truth, she was met with crickets. Where were the people ready to surround her with prayer?! If anyone reading this attends that church, that’s the question you should be all asking yourselves right now. Why did you applaud sin, and ignore abuse?

  4. What Mr. Lowe did is horrific, and having had a under age family member go through this same type of abuse at a Southern Baptist Church decades ago, these stories break my heart and make me angry. What was done in my family members case was to coverup and move the pastor to another church. What I can’t understand is how Mr Lowe does this for 9 years and stands in the pulpit week after week preaching, that really exposes who he is. I would never believe anything he says. Evangelicals are no better than the Catholic Church when it comes to sexual sin and abuse. As individual Christians and as the Church we need to lament and repent of our sin. Please Father help us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.

  5. I bet he was already for the good ole Christian “ahhhh we forgive you pastor”. Instead got a reality check thrown in his face. What possess these “men of God” to think that by merely standing up and getting the atta boys for their confessions equates to the victim thinking “ahhhhhhhhhhhh he is so godly I must magically forget the HELL, he put me thru”….I am sadden that many pastors are like actors. Nothing to do with godly direction to the pulpit but EGO fulfillment. Each week being the center of all attention. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. During covid and was at home working went to you tube to look up televangelists I used to watch. YIKES talk about self love and using scripture to justify all they do. I would look up the scripture and think (wow, not even close to what Jesus or Paul was saying). but the sheeple will raise their hands and agree without actually thinking WHAT did he just say!!!!!!

  6. I am so proud of this woman and her husband for standing up to Lowe’s false confession. This church’s written response on their website is absolutely incompatible with what happened to both of these young girls. They have tried to cover over this horrific abuse by saying… “Life is messy. Believers are messy. Church is messy. God is not.” A teenager’s room can be “messy,” but the calculated seduction and sexual abuse by a pastor using his spiritual authority and power over a young girl is a horrific crime that for her, can result in a pain worse than death. The church needs to treat it as such, and not parade the ability to “forgive” an abuser as a badge of their “Christ-like love.” Those who watch the video can see the response of the congregation to this abused woman who is emotionally crying out in pain in front of them. And by their response to her, not comforting her in any way, viewers have every right to question what the “Christian” church views as love. I am so sorry for the pain these women are in and pray that even in the midst of all this notoriety resulting from their courageous acts, they will know the Lord’s healing in their souls and bodies. For women in the church whose abusers remain hidden, defended, or protected, thank you for shedding light on this darkness.

    1. This is where we end up when the church refuses to look at evil in the name of holiness. tinyurl.com/wiseasserpents – Steve Nelson

  7. I am so sick of hearing “Child Abuse” referred to as ” An Inappropriate Relationship”.

    Words matter and churches need to start calling ”Abuse” exactly that.

    1. REFORM THE CHURCH. THESE HORRIFIC ACTS BY HUNDREDS (I dare say thousands) OF PASTORS MUST STOP. WE CANNOT TURN A BLIND EYE ANYMORE.

  8. Until these guys say “I raped a child and accept full responsibility from the law and God” the word repentance does not need to come out of their mouths.

  9. I watched the video in this article. Disgusting!!! In this day and age of social media, everyone’s Christianity is being exposed. This has been a deeply disappointing, sobering and hopeful experience for me. Sobering that, many wonderful and godly people notwithstanding, the body of Christ has been more (broadly and deeply) corrupt and for far longer than I could have ever imagined. Disappointing, in that, we are the light of this world. And, this is the kind of light we are shedding? Hopeful, because in this age of social media, one gets to see the wheat from the tares, the wolves from the sheep. Seems like Jesus Christ is cleaning up His church!

    In John Lowe’s case, was it “adultery” or deliberate, predatory grooming, and statutory rape (if not worse)? How about repenting for THAT, and sparing us the euphemisms.

    “By their fruits you shall know them” ~Jesus

  10. Michael Bulkley

    Hey Julie and team, are you seeing the slew of other young women now coming forward regarding abuse by pastors son and head of security for this church?

  11. After the women’s accusation became public after the pastor tried to minimize it as “adultery”. A lady in the back said “How could you do this to a 14 year old?” It was an awkward moment when the pastor could either let that statement stand, which sounds horrible, or speak up and utter the words, No she was 16, not 14. Either way he was cooked at that point, but he was able to summon enough inner strength to correct the lady and said “16”. What a moment. This is the problem with a pastor centric church. People just cannot let their pastor fail, because then everything else will crumble. What a gross video. I think it is also interesting to see how many men wanted to hug and pray for this guy, but most women were having non of it. Must have been some very awkward car rides home.

  12. Another exposed “christian church business” headed up by charismatic pastor dude. God is bringing judgement to all these institutions abusing, using, His Word, for their own financial and personal enrichment. Lesbians, homosexuals are now openly “pastoring” protestant denominations here in greater Chicagoland suburban areas. I pass by no less than 3 of these “woke” Protestant main line denominational churches daily, 1 mile radius from my house. Affluent suburban neighborhoods, just 20 yrs ago were staunch conservative bible believing Christians, now these same buildings have been modernized with openly Gay pastoral leadership. BLM, rainbow signs, flags, flapping at their front doors. A perverted demonic gospel is preached on Sunday mornings, no old time reformed theology visitors welcome there. This Indiana congregations behaviour to stand by their pastor while ignoring the sexually abused woman who confronted him is cult behaviour. They sat all these years under this predator masqeurading in a job as pastor. Wow, this is happening all over some just have not been exposed yet.

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