Updated: Nov 11
Jack Schaap Returns to the Radar: Former Pastor of First Baptist Church Resurfaces with Family
TL;DR Jack Schaap, once a pastor in Hammond, Indiana, is back on the radar after pleading guilty to sex crimes. He admitted to taking a sixteen-year-old girl across state lines and attempting to have sex with her. Schaap was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was denied early release, citing his deteriorating parents' health. The judge refused to grant him compassionate release, and Schaap was fired from his job at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.
Jack Schaap pleaded guilty to transporting a minor across state lines for sex, a charge that carries a sentence of 10 years to life. He says that at the time he did not know he was breaking the law and that he was doing something morally acceptable. He also says he did not intend to exploit the girl.
Schaap was a pastor at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, when he pleaded guilty to taking a 16-year-old girl across state lines for sex. After confessing to the crime, he was fired. He was charged with adultery and was sentenced to jail in 2013. Jack Schaap was denied an early release from prison for three years after pleading guilty to molesting a young church girl. The young girl was underage, and Schaap took her from Illinois to Michigan with the intent to have sexual intercourse. He was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
Jack Schaap was fired from his church after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a minor. The board members, who include the church's founder's daughter, decided to remove Schaap from his position due to the allegations. The board voted to fire him after a closed-door meeting. The church's deacons did not allow cameras into the meeting. He was fired from First Baptist Church of Hammond in 2012
The girl had been a member of the church since childhood and had trusted Schaap with counseling. According to court documents, Schaap groomed the girl and had sex with her in Illinois and Michigan. Schaap had been trusted to counsel a young girl who had been having sex with a teenage boy. Despite knowing the girl and her parents, Schaap groomed the girl and took advantage of her vulnerability to initiate a relationship. Schaap was a church pastor and superintendent of Hammond Baptist Schools, and he was the victim's trusted advisor. The girl's family had been members of the church for many years. They had trusted Schaap with their daughter's spiritual development. Schaap groomed the girl to have sex with him, and they eventually had sex in Chicago. Later, Schaap traveled to Michigan, where he subsequently had sex with a teenage girl.
The case of Jack Schaap, an Indiana man who served nine years in prison for assaulting a teenage girl, has made headlines all over the country. The man's innocence was disputed by the prosecution, which charged him with felony sexual assault. However, the defense argues that Schaap did not break the law; he just misinterpreted it. The prosecution claims that Schaap did not know he was breaking the law, and that he thought it was morally acceptable to molest the girl.
In requesting an early release, Schaap has two elderly parents. One of them is in poor health and can't work due to a heart condition. The other has diabetes and cracked ribs. The court rejected Schaap's claim that he is the only one capable of taking care of them. Schaap's mother and father both suffer from age-related illnesses and are financially unable to move to an assisted living facility.
The following is – in part – the government's reason for dismissing his motion.
"Defendant describes in detail the health challenges his parents are facing. The government verified the accuracy of those claims by speaking directly with Defendant’s mother, who explained that although she and her husband have the means to move to an assisted living facility, she strongly prefers to remain at her home and hopes to be cared for by Defendant. Defendant makes additional claims in his motion, however, that the government does dispute. He claims he asked for a pre-indictment plea to “show [he] accepted full responsibility and to avoid a lengthy trial period which [he] felt would be detrimental to [his] congregation and to prevent any other staff personnel from being indicted.” Id. That statement is inaccurate in two respects. Defendant did not ask for a plea; rather, the government offered him a pre-indictment and he signed it after sitting through a presentation of the government’s overwhelming evidence of his guilt. Second, contrary to Defendant’s claim, there was never any chance that a member of his staff would be indicted. Although a staff member did drive the victim across state lines at Defendant’s request, that individual had no idea that he intended to engage in illicit sexual conduct with the girl once out of state. Accordingly, the staff member did not engage in criminal conduct of any kind. Similarly unconvincing is Defendant’s claim that he “did not know [he] was violating the law” at the time. Id. If that were true, why arrange for someone else to drive the victim across state lines? And why download a program specifically designed to delete photographs and then use it to destroy pictures of his sexual encounters with the victim? Further, it appears doubtful, given his failure to mention the victim in his motion and his attempt to USDC IN/ND case 2:12-cr-00131-TLS-PRC document 75 filed 06/19/20 page 6 of 13 7 blame the victim in his post-conviction petition, that Defendant truly does “realize the seriousness of [his] crime and accept responsibility for it,” as he now claims. Id. Finally, the government obtained evidence from the BOP that tends to refute Defendant’s claim that he has “strived to be a model prisoner” while incarcerated. See Exhibit 1, filed herewith. In 2013 – the year after he was sentenced by Judge Lozano – Defendant admitted putting his “hand under [the] jacket and in the crotch area of a female visitor,” for which he was disciplined. Id. And a year later, Defendant admitted “writing [a] letter and mailing [it] out of [the] facility [where he was housed] to be mailed back in.” Id. Interestingly, when confronted about this latter violation, Defendant “denied knowing it was not allowed” (id.) – much like he now claims that he “did not know [he] was violating the law” by arranging for someone else to transport a minor to Michigan and Illinois so he could have sex with her."
Jack Schaap, 64, was released from the federal prison system, according to Bureau of Prisons inmate records. Court records show Schaap had been incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution, Ashland, in Kentucky.
Schaap was the son-in-law of Jack Hyles, founder of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, and an affiliated private college, Hyles-Anderson College. The church functioned as the flagship of the loosely organized Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement. Schaap took over as First Baptist Hammond’s senior pastor after Hyles died in 2001.
Rick Sparks, a spokesman for First Baptist Hammond, said in a statement that the church was aware of Schaap’s release. “Our ministry has not had contact with him and do not know his future plans,” Sparks’ statement read. “We are confident he will not have any connection to First Baptist Church or Hyles-Anderson College.”
Cindy Schaap has divorced him and has written a memoir. Jack Schaap has been seen attending church with his son in laws, golfing and attending family events with children. He has yet to register as a sex offender to be in compliance with the terms of his release. As of now, there is no information if he is volunteering or on payroll from any church.
Updated to correct errors.