Fired First Baptist pastor to plead guilty in sex scandal involving 17-year-old
BY Teresa Auch Schultz Sun-Times Media email@example.com September 18, 2012 7:30PM
Pastor Jack Schaap of the First Baptist Church of Hammond. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:26AM
The recently fired pastor of a Hammond megachurch will plead guilty to taking a minor across state lines for sexual activity, federal prosecutors in Indiana said Tuesday.
Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, was fired in August because he allegedly had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The church initially said its deacon board fired Schaap because he committed a “sin.”
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 has a congregation of more than 15,000.
Schaap, 54, of Dyer, is scheduled to have his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Judge Paul Cherry in federal court in Hammond.
Church officials said in August 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.
Schaap graduated from Hyles-Anderson Bible College, which is associated with First Baptist, and married Cynthia Hyles, daughter of First Baptist founder 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.