Indiana Woman Who Confronted Pastor John Lowe Says Grooming Began When She Was 14
For nearly 30 years, Bobi Gephart wanted share her secret about John B. Lowe II, the longtime pastor of New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana. Gephart finally did before Lowe’s own congregation on May 22.
The woman who spoke out against her pastor and in front of the entire church accused him of having sex with her when she was a teenager told Inside Edition that he began grooming her when she was 14 in encounters that have haunted her for nearly three decades.
For nearly 30 years, Bobi Gephart wanted to tell someone about John B. Lowe II, the longtime pastor of New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana. Gephart finally shared the secret she said has haunted her before Lowe’s own congregation on May 22, taking to the stage after the pastor had confessed to "adultery" 20 years earlier. "I sinned," he said, noting he never previously admitted it publicly "to protect myself."
“If you love us, please let us talk,” said, Nate Gephart, Bobi’s husband who accompanied her to the stage, before handing the microphone to his wife, video of the encounter showed.
Bobi noted it had not been 20 years, but 27 since the sexual relationship began, and that she “lived in a prison of lies and shame.”
“You did things to my teenage body that had never and should have never been done,” she said.
"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.
“You kept me in your prison," she told Lowe. "I'm a prisoner no longer."
What became sexual started more innocuously, Bobi, now 43, told Inside Edition.
Lowe began grooming her when she was 14, earning her trust and telling her he loved her, she said.
When she was 16, “Things progressed into a full-on sexual, I guess you would call it, relationship,” that lasted nine years, she said. Lowe, now 65, was more than 20 years older than Bobi.
Bobi told no one what happened between her and Lowe and even had him officiate her and Nate’s 2004 wedding.
“(Lowe) told me this would ruin everybody. ‘Think of the lives that would be destroyed if you ever said anything,’ (that) he would go to prison,” she said.
Bobi kept what happened a secret until her brother approached her about a disturbing memory he had of when she was a teenager.
“He saw us in the bed together, and I just had a t-shirt and underwear on,” she said. “It was the floodgates. I opened up to my brother (about) absolutely everything and he wept with me.
“I didn't know that he knew. I didn't know that he saw that,” she tearfully continued.
Bobi’s brother then confronted Lowe over text and Lowe made his confession of sorts during a Sunday service. After admitting that he had sinned, Lowe received a standing ovation before Bobi and her husband approached the stage.
“My husband and I sat in the back of the sanctuary, and we were on fire and just shaking our heads,” she said. “I just can't believe you're lying to these people,” she said of her thoughts.
After Bobi confronted Lowe at the service, Nate threw a necklace they said Lowe had given Bobi, as well as the purity ring she wore before marriage as a sign of virginity, onto the podium.
Members of the congregation embraced Bobi as she and her husband left the stage. They also demanded answers. The age of consent in Indiana is 16 years old. Lowe, who admitted Bobi was 16 when their sexual relationship began, said, “I ask you to forgive me. That's all I can do.” He has since resigned from his position.
“Many, many people came to us and just there were just sobs and hugs and love,” Bobi said. “It's almost like, I can't even believe everybody knows my secret now, you know what I’m saying? Just to think that I might be helping one other girl in a similar situation would make this worth it, in my opinion.”
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