Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jack Schaap of the IFB Pleads Guilty to Felony Charges

 It seems that the initial charges against him were true.

 In July of 2012, Jack Schaap, an Independent Fundamental Baptist affiliate who pastors a mega church with a weekly attendance of 15,000 was dismissed from his position because of an alleged affair with a minor who was sent to him for counsel.  Many unconfirmed media sources reported that the minor was initially sent to Schapp for counsel because she had been sexually abused.  Read more about the background of the case and the initial information HERE.

From the FBI website:
United States Attorney David Capp announced the filing of a felony information against Jack A. Schaap. Schaap, 54, of Dyer, Indiana, and Crete, Illinois, was charged with interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(a). Schaap signed a plea agreement that was filed in conjunction with the felony Information.    

The Chicago Sun Times reports on September 19, 2012:
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.

 September 26, 2012 Update:

The Chicago Sun Times article entltied:

The former pastor of Hammond’s megachurch said he knew it was a sin to bring a young girl he was counseling across state lines for sexual activity — but he didn’t know he was committing a crime.

“I was not aware of the law,” Jack Schaap, dressed in orange prison garb, told a judge Wednesday as he pleaded guilty.

Schaap, 54, was the pastor of the 15,000-member First Baptist Church of Hammond until he was fired this summer because of the affair.

Although Schaap said he didn’t know it was against the law, he did concede in court it was unprofessional conduct and a sin.

Schaap, of Dyer, was charged last week with taking someone under the age of 18 across state lines with the intent of having sexual activity and ordered held without bond. On Wednesday, he described the three trips he and the teen took, starting on June 20.

Not only was Schaap the girl’s pastor, he said, but he was superintendent of the private school connected to First Baptist that she attended and was counseling her at the time of the crime.
Schaap said someone else took the girl, who was then 16, across the Indiana-Illinois border and into suburban Crete — but that he made that happen. They took another trip to Illinois a week later, after she had turned 17, and then a third trip on July 10 to Michigan, near the city of Cadillac. He admitted that he did engage in sexual activities with the girl.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Koster said that the government’s evidence against Schaap included photos of him and the teenager together on the trips, text messages, phone call records and testimony from the victim and other witnesses. 

Schaap faces up to life in prison on the charge. However, federal prosecutors have said in the plea agreement that they will recommend he serve the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Schaap must also pay a restitution to the victim, although that amount has not been set yet.

Schaap’s crime first came to life in the beginning of August when First Baptist, one of the largest churches in the country, fired him. Officials with the church said at the time that they did not believe he had committed a crime but had turned the case over anyway to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. 

Schaap is married to Cynthia Hyles, daughter of First Baptist founder Jack Hyles. Church leaders have said Schaap, since being fired, has been spending time with his wife as the two try to save their marriage.