Story Archive

Thou Shalt Not

The Rev. Jack A. Schaap, 55, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind., has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for having a sexual affair with a teen girl from his congregation. The girl was 16 when she went to him for counseling for “self-destructive” behavior, and he took advantage of that by “grooming” her for the affair, prosecutors say, even telling her that Jesus Christ “sanctioned” what he was doing to her as he took her on trips over state lines for sex. She turned 17 during the affair. Schaap’s wife begged the court for “leniency in my husband’s sentencing,” arguing the affair was “consensual,” but the judge rejected the 10-year sentence agreed to in a plea bargain, saying it was not enough; Schaap must also serve 5 years of probation when released, and register as a sex offender for life. Schaap pleaded guilty, and the 15,000-member “mega church” fired him after 11 years as pastor — and superintendent of its schools. Investigation showed he would text the girl from the altar while delivering sermons. And what of the girl? She was expelled from the church’s school, and her entire family was banned from the church. (RC/Chicago Tribune) ...Ridiculous, sure — but probably the best thing that could happen to them.
Original Publication Date: 24 March 2013
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 19.

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