The former pastor, Jack Schaap, 54, of First Baptist Church of Hammond has confessed to having sex with a 16 year old girl, who was going to him for counseling, board members told the congregation Wednesday night. The pastor was fired immediately, who has led the church for the last 11 years. The church plans to fully cooperate with an FBI investigation into allegations that multiple sexual encounters involving the same girl took place across state lines. His secretary drove the girl across state lines and was fired as well.
Schaap’s affair was outed accidentally, a former church member said. “Jack Schaap had left his cell phone on the pulpit and a deacon had seen it on the pulpit and had picked it up to bring it back to him,” Trisha Kee, who maintains a Facebook group for ex-congregants. “From what we understand, the deacon then saw a text come through from a teenage girl in the church, and it was a picture of Jack Schaap and this girl making out.” Another young woman has also come forward, who was going to him for counseling, as well.
“Our church grieves over the need to take this action and the impact it will have on our people”, Eddie Wilson, a church spokesman said. Norma Hogan described the pastor as “very charismatic, very magnetic.”
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich says that his department began a criminal investigation into the church and its Hyles-Anderson College Tuesday after talking with senior church representatives. He added that Schaap was being investigated along with Hyles-Anderson College, where the former pastor was once a vice president, and where it is believed the teenage girl took classes. The First Baptist Church of Hammond faced a similar scandal in 1991 when a deacon was convicted of molesting a 7-year-old girl in her Sunday school class.
Schaap and his wife Cindy, the daughter of a beloved former pastor, have been married for more than 30 years and have two children. He is attempting reconciliation with his wife. Schaap has made a career writing advice books about dating.
This pastor should be held accountable not only by his church but by the law as well. This young girl along with the other will likely suffer for this the rest of their lives. And there are likely others that have not come forward as of yet. Most pedophiles have many victims. Although this girl may have been at the age of consent, she is still a child and the pastor was in authority over her and has taken advantage of a vulnerable young girl. We don’t yet know how old the other one is. Judgment starts at the house of God, people! What kind of reputation are we giving to our Savior with behaviors like this going on inside the church!
- Ex-pastor of Indiana church investigated for sex with teen (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Pastor at Ind. megachurch fired for sex with teen (cbsnews.com)