Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana, has signed a plea agreement in the U.S. District Court in Hammond admitting his relationship with a young woman when she was just 16. Schaap was charged with inappropriate behavior and taking a minor across state lines for the purpose of sex, and may be facing up to 10 years in prison.
"I have agreed, as set forth in a separate filing with the Court, to wave my right to Indictment by a federal Grand Jury with respect to the charge of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and to plead guilty to that charge," reads Schaap's plea agreement in court documents obtained by The Christian Post.
The court document also states that the expected sentence for such a crime could be up to 120 months, or 10 years incarceration. more >>
First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana has become more united than ever in the wake of Pastor Jack Schaap's dismissal, a spokesman for the church told The Christian Post.
The church community was rocked recently by Schaap's dismissal, which came about following his admission of adultery with a young teenager. Investigations into the scandal surrounding the former pastor are continuing, the church spokesman confirmed, but the quick action by the church has allowed its members to come together during the difficult time.
"People are very pleased at how fast our deacon board acted in the dismissal of our former pastor. Seems like that has helped them, the fact that they made the right choice and they are very open," said Eddie Wilson, spokesperson and public relations director, to CP in a phone interview on Monday. more >>
Officials in Dugger, Ind., have decided against heading to court to challenge a claim from the Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State that a 26-foot cross reading "Jesus Saves" situated on public land is a violation of the Constitution, as it appears to endorse Christianity. Instead, the town will sell the property.
The Dugger Town Council decided earlier this week to have the small crop of land and its cross appraised to see how much they might sell for, according to Dwight Nielsen, the town council president. Nielsen suspects the half-acre site could be worth as much as $2,000 or $3,000.
"Our legal fees would probably run that much on the first day," he told the media. more >>
Jack Schaap, the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana who was fired earlier this week for an alleged adulterous affair, has confessed to cheating on his wife with a teen girl belonging to the megachurch.
The Board of Deacons addressed the scandal at a church meeting Wednesday night, WGN-TV revealed, and said that Schaap, 54, has admitted to the inappropriate relationship with a church member who was not named. The girl, currently 17, was 16 years old when her relationship with Schaap began.
The former pastor, who had led the 15,000-member congregation for the past 11 years, has not yet made any public remarks on his firing nor the affair. The FBI reportedly has launched an investigation into Schaap's involvement with the young girl – although the age of consent in Indiana is 16, so it is unclear if the married father of two will face any criminal charges. more >>
Megachurch pastor Jack Schaap of First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana has been fired for an undisclosed "sin" and it has been revealed that the church and an affiliated college is being investigated by local authorities as well as the FBI. An extra-marital affair, possibly with a teenager, might be the reason for Schaap's dismissal, according to various sources.
"At this time, we deeply regret the need to announce that First Baptist Church has dismissed our pastor, Dr. Jack Schaap, due to a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor. First Baptist Church is in full cooperation with our local authorities in their investigation of this matter. Our church grieves over the need to take this action and the impact it will have on our people," the church shared in a press release.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich shared with local publication the Times of North West Indiana that a criminal investigation had been launched into the church along with Hyles-Anderson College, although he declined to comment on what specifically they were looking into. more >>
The Episcopal Church is set to become the first major U.S. religious body to bless same-sex marriages after its bishops decided on Monday at a meeting in Indianapolis to change the definition of marriage in their code.
The church's Chamber of Bishops has already agreed upon the change, and the new liturgy is expected to pass the House of Deputies later this week, as confirmed by Ruth Meyers, a chair of the Episcopalians' Subcommittee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music. The policy was approved by a 111-41 vote with three abstentions on Monday, CNN revealed.
"Today the Episcopal Church affirmed the human dignity of a deeply stigmatized population that is far too often victim to discrimination, bullying and abuse," remarked the Rev. Lowell Grisham, a leader of the Chicago Consultation said in a statement. more >>