Last week, we shared with you the stunning story of an Indiana pastor who was confronted during a public confession that he’d had an affair twenty years prior — by his abuse victim, the 16-year-old girl he’d groomed and slept with for years.
A video of the incident of Pastor John Lowe’s “confession” and the subsequent confrontation of his victim has been widely circulated online, capturing the attention of the British tabloid The Daily Mail, among others — and also prompted more abuse victims of this church to come forward to tell their stories.
The sickening truth is, it gets much, much worse, with two more accusers coming forward to allege child sexual abuse and violent domestic abuse at the hands of Lowe’s son, Jeremy, which the victims say was never held accountable for his actions.
Last week, Church Leaders reported that a former member of Pastor Lowe’s church, New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana, came forward just 24 hours after he was confronted by the woman he had groomed into a sexual affair as a teen to tell her story of being sexually abused at the hands of Lowe’s son, Jeremy.
According to a statement posted to her website, Jessi Kline says that Jeremy Lowe, who used to babysit her and her brother, sexually molested her when she was a child.
The younger Lowe, Kline says, threatened her not to tell anyone or she would “get in trouble.”
“I was so scared, and I didn’t understand because I was a child,” Kline explained.
When she was 13, Kline finally told a friend, who confided in a youth leader who spoke with her parents and ultimately, her abuser and his parents, then pastors of the church, were confronted.
Although the Lowes “were not surprised,” she says, they promised to “any action necessary” although they told the Klines not to go to the police.
However, the Lowes ultimately turned on Jessi and her family, while Jeremy was allowed to continue to serve in the church’s nursery.
The police, meanwhile, were unable to do anything because Jessi was unable to remember specific details of the abuse she’d suffered years before.
“I know my mind and body were working to protect me against the trauma of his abuse as it repressed the painful memories,” she said. “He stole my innocence and prayed I wouldn’t remember.”
Kline blames “the WHOLE family” for the abuse and failure to act, saying “Until they confess to crimes to the police, they are not truly penitent.”
New Life Christian Church and World Outreach, she declared, is “built on lies, deceit, abuse, rape, and fear.”
A subsequent account from the ex-wife of Jeremy Lowe corroborates Jessi’s horrific account.
“My name is Abbey Plummer and I too am an abuse survivor of Jeremiah Lowe (Pastor John Lowe’s son),” Plummer wrote on Facebook. “I was not abused by him as a child, but as his wife over the course of 4 years.”
The post, which is included with a picture of a young Plummer smiling with two dogs, reads in part:
What you can’t see behind that smile was that my life was an absolute living hell. What you can’t see is that on numerous occasions I thought this was going to be it for me, the walls of that dumpy trailer were going to be the last thing I saw as I finally suffered for the last time at the hands of my abuser. What you can’t see is the fear I lived in every day not knowing what would set him off or if that day or if would be a day I could just breathe for a moment. What you can’t hear is the sound of items being thrown or broken, the sounds of my abuser screaming at me and calling me horrible names, the sound of me crying, being drug down the hall by my hair, and pleading with him to just stop. What you can’t see in this picture is that a year later that sweet puppy dog in the front would be brutally beaten to death while I was at work one morning and dumped by the side of the road in attempts to make it look like an “accident.” The other one would be taken from my apartment as ransom during our divorce process and I was told by Jeremy that if I did not come talk to him, that he was going to release the dog in the middle of U.S. 30.
“This is just a handful of the things I went through and unfortunately there are so many more. What you also can’t see is that my abuse was not known solely between myself and my husband at the time,” she explains.
Plummer goes on to detail how the Lowes were aware of the abuse she was suffering as well as Jeremy’s extramarital affairs and she says failed to act beyond giving their son a mere slap on the wrist.
“Their concern was not on me, but on their son and their church,” she wrote, explaining how she was manipulated with scripture and went through counseling but “nothing ever changed.”
“I was forced to put on a happy face at church and take my rightful place on the front row next to my abuser and pretend that I was not living in the absolute worst days of my life,” she wrote.
When she finally confided in others outside of the church’s inner circle, she got the help and support she needed to pursue a divorce.
As Elizabeth Johnston often admonishes the church, it is time to confront the prevalence of accounts like these within the church.
The Lowes have stepped down from their roles as co-pastors of the church and have been scrubbed from the church’s website.
How many more leaders are there out there who are errantly using the Word of God to abuse the Body of Christ?
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