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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jack Schaap, former Hammond Megachurch pastor, signs plea agreement in Federal Court


Former Hammond Megachurch Pastor 

Signs Plea Deal Agreement

Former First Baptist Church of Hammond Pastor Jack Schaap 
Former First Baptist Church of Hammond (Ind.) pastor Jack Schaap will appear in federal court this afternoon to face charges he took an underage girl across state lines in order to have sexual relations with her. Schaap signed a plea deal Tuesday where he admitted he had sex with the girl, used his computer to entice the girl into the relationship, and that the girl was under his supervision.

Schaap will admit he had a sexual relationship with the girl between June 1 and July 30 and waived his right to have charges brought against him by a grand jury for indictment as part of the deal. He was fired by First Baptist last month after admitting to the affair, which the church’s board of deacons said was a dismissible offense under their bylaws. The girl was transported to a Cook County Forest Preserve and Michigan by church members for interludes with Schaap.

First Baptist Church of Hammond is one of the largest churches in the country, boasting a congregation of 14,000 people. Schaap is the son-in-law of First Baptist’s founder, Jack Hyles, who built the church into one of the largest in the country using a massive bus ministry that incorporated carnival antics with testimonials, targeting Chicago’s South and West sides: a program that exists to this day. In the mid-1970s Time magazine declared First Baptist as having the “world’s largest Sunday school.”

Sex scandals aren’t new to First Baptist. A 1997 lawsuit claimed a 42-year-old female church member was beaten and raped multiple times between 1991 and 1996. Schaap has often been criticized for his misogynistic and sexist approach to Christianity. He’s long spoken of a relationship with God in a sexual context, with God being the dominant male partner in the relationship, and believes in a male-dominated marriage partnership.

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