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Woman buoyed by support after viral pastor confrontation

Woman buoyed by support
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Bobi Gephart hadn’t planned to go to church that Sunday — not to the worship service where the pastor intended to make a confession about the oppressive secret she had carried for so long.

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But she quickly changed her mind, realizing she couldn’t trust the pastor – the man she says began sexually preying on her as a teenager – to share the whole truth.

Bobi Gephart, now 43, told The Associated Press she wanted the church community to know the truth and had no idea the video , arriving mid-service, and made sure her story was told.
In this undated photo provided by Bobi Gephart, Gephart and her husband, Nate Gephart, pose for a picture. Bobi says she has felt “overwhelming support” from people all over the world after she confronted Pastor John B. Lowe II. (Courtesy of Bobi Gephart via AP)

Gephart hurried to New Life Christian Church & World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana, arriving mid-service, and made sure her story was told.

Nearly a million viewers have witnessed what happened next in that May 22 confrontation, captured on video and posted on Facebook.

John B. Lowe II, the congregation’s longtime pastor, confessed on stage to “adultery” 20 years earlier. “I sinned,” he said, acknowledging he never previously admitted it publicly “to protect myself.”

Bobi and her husband, Nate Gephart, who had been watching from the congregation, then walked onto the stage and took the microphone.

“If you love us, please let us talk,” Nate said, handing the mic to his wife.

It was 27 years, she said, not 20, that she had “lived in a prison of lies and shame.”

“For years, I thought I was a horrible person, having suicidal thoughts, not realizing what had truly been done to me, that I was a victim,” she told him. “I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do.”

She told Lowe “you kept me in your prison,” but “I’m a prisoner no longer.”

Bobi Gephart, now 43, told The Associated Press she wanted the church community to know the truth and had no idea the video, recorded by a family member in the congregation, would generate such a viral response. She’s received “overwhelming support,” she said.

“I didn’t realize how much this is helping and will help people,” she said. People “not just in this area but all over the world are reaching out to me. Their stories are so heartbreaking.”

Lowe resigned as pastor, the church said in a statement on May 23. The church said no one on staff had previously known about what happened, and it offered to help Gephart with “healing in any way in which we are able.”

  • June 4, 2022
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