Chesterton Tribune


Hammond megachurch pastor gets 12 years in sex case

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The former pastor of the 15,000-member First Baptist Church of Hammond has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

On Wednesday, Jack Allen Schaap, 55, of Crete, Ill., was sentenced to 144 months in prison and five years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana said.

According to court documents, “Schaap, as the pastor of Hammond Baptist Church, superintendent of its schools, and a trusted adviser to the victim and her family, involved himself with counseling the victim, a then-16-year-old church member who had been identified as vulnerable,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“Once their sessions began, Schaap met with her for longer durations and with increasing frequency over time, beginning with a few hours per week in April and May 2012, to semi-weekly in June, and then daily or several times a day in July,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “Schaap encouraged the victim to view him as not just her pastor but also as her friend and, finally, love interest.”

“Schaap’s phone records revealed that in one month’s time he and the victim spoke on the phone or texted one another approximately 662 times,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “He also arranged to have the victim transported to Illinois and to Michigan so they could spend extended periods of time alone together. The government recovered photos taken at his property in Illinois and inside a cabin in Michigan which depicted Schaap and the victim in intimate poses.”

The case was investigated by the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the FBI, the Indiana State Police, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Police.

Schaap was fired from First Baptist Church of Hammond in July 2012 after 11 years, the Associated Press reported, and he subsequently admitted to three sexual encounters with the girl.


Posted 3/21/2013