Fired First Baptist pastor to plead guilty in sex scandal involving 17-year-old
BY Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com September 18, 2012 6:26PM
Pastor Jack Schaap of the First Baptist Church of Hammond. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:24AM
The former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond who was fired in August because of a relationship he had with a 17-year-old girl will plead guilty in federal court to taking a minor across state lines for sexual activity, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The announcement of the plea agreement came at the same time as news that Jack Schaap, 54, of Dyer and Crete, Ill., is being charged in U.S. District Court in Hammond with the crime, although an indictment was not available as of Tuesday evening.
The release says he will have his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Judge Paul Cherry. News of Schaap’s relationship with the girl first came out in early August, when First Baptist announced that the deacon board fired Schaap because of a “sin.”
Church officials said at the time said that they didn’t believe any crime had occurred but that they had turned the case over to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff’s office and the FBI investigated the case.
The church has said the 17-year-old girl and her family are members of First Baptist, which was one of the first megachurches in the country. The church, located at 507 State St. in Hammond, has a congregation of more than 15,000.
Schaap graduated from Hyles-Anderson Bible College, which is associated with First Baptist, and married Cynthia Hyles, daughter of long-time First Baptist leader Jack Hyles.
Church leaders have said Schaap has been spending time since leaving the church with his wife, as the two try to save their marriage.