Former Hammond pastor continues push for lighter sentence
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org August 4, 2014 1:58PM
Updated: September 6, 2014 6:14AM
Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, continues to push to have his 12-year prison sentence vacated in a new court filing.
Schaap has filed to vacate his sentencing, arguing his former attorneys told him he would serve no more than 10 years for having sex with an underage parishioner and more likely only a few years in prison.
Federal attorneys are fighting this move, arguing that Schaap admitted under thorough questioning by U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano at Schaap’s change of plea hearing that he knew the mandatory minimum sentence he faced was 10 years and that the final sentence was up to Lozano.
The new document, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond in response to the government, argues that Schaap has no legal background and thus shouldn’t be expected to understand what terms like “maximum guideline sentence” actually mean.
“Petitioner did not attend law school and does not have an extensive history of involvement with the criminal history system,” the filing says.
Schaap also continues to argue that evidence about his victim’s sexual past is relevant to his sentence because it makes him less culpable. The document refers to advances the victim, who was 16 when their relationship began, allegedly made on him. Federal attorneys have argued the victim was in an emotional place at the time and had been told by other adults to place her complete trust in Schaap, who at the time held several positions of authority, as her pastor, principal and counselor, over her.
Schaap is asking for a hearing on his motion.