HAMMOND, IN – It’s an ugly case in Indiana. 55-year-old Jack Schaap, former pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, plead guilty to having sex with a seventeen-year-old girl from the church’s congregation, telling federal prosecutors it was “god’s plan” that the two be together.
“It’s been the most difficult week of my life,’ says church Deacon Terry Duff. ‘I’ve been in this church my whole life. And it’s broken our hearts; we loved that man and we trusted that man.”
Investigators say the pastor lured the girl to his cabin in Michigan in order to “counsel” her during a difficult time in her life.
“He told me to confide in him, to trust him,” she wrote in a letter to the court. It was then, prosecutors say, he had sex with the girl and told her god wanted her to be his wife.
Church members are stricken by the news.
Prosecutors say the relationship began when the girl was sixteen and continued through her seventeenth birthday.
Schaap is facing ten years in prison for the crime. The good news, if there is any, is that he admitted to his actions.
“Spiritual leaders are men,’ Schaap wrote in a news release read by his attorney, ‘susceptible to sickness, weakness, stumbling and sinning. Faith, thankfully, is not in men, faith is in God. Please pray for those you love and all those affected by my actions.”
Another in a list of spiritual leaders who have used god’s name to prey on children.