Backstory: “Jack Schaap Ousted from First Baptist Church of Hammond; Police, FBI Involved,” August 1, 2012
Here’s all we know from all we’ve read — insert “allegedly” anywhere and everywhere it will fit, as we are not privy to any information and cannot vouch for any of the following; this is just what we’ve read:
• Jack Schaap, son-in-law of Jack Hyles, was removed as pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, after 11 years, for, in the words of the church, “a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor”: an “improper relatonship with a young woman.”
Why is it so important that the alleged victim was not a Hyles-Anderson student?
First Baptist has been emphasizing that the girl was not one of Schaap’s students. We think this is because, in Indiana, while the age of consent may be 16, there are still laws against sexual contact between an adult and a minor over whom the adult is in a position of authority.
Indiana Code 35-42-4-7 is very specific about illegal conduct with a child when the adult is a teacher or one otherwise affiliated with any school, childcare worker, stepparent or guardian, or military recruiter — but does not appear to address sexual contact by a church pastor or employee. Perhaps First Baptist’s lawyer is counting on that. This tack has been tried before, sometimes successfully, sometimes not; see, for example: “Substitute teacher charged with child seduction,” WISH, July 16, 2011; “Cheerleading coach accused of sex act with high-schooler,” Meg Neal, New York Daily News, June 23, 2012.
Broader references to “a person having a position of authority or substantial influence over the victim” in the Indiana code relate only to drugging victims for sex and sex offenses committed over the Internet. Thus, if (and that is still a bg “if”) Mr. Schaap had sex with an underage female in Indiana, we’re guessing he may well get away with it — unless he exchanged sexual messages with the girl over the ‘Net, drugged her, or, of course, raped her.
• The “young woman” in question is 17 years old.
• The girl and her family are members of First Baptist Church of Hammond, where Schaap was pastor. He was also chancellor of Hyles-Anderson College — but the girl was not a student there.
• First Baptist head deacon Terry Duff says the church’s board of deacons first learned of Schaap’s misconduct Wednesday, July 25th. Schaap was fired either Friday or Saturday (depending on who you ask), and the church did not contact authorities until either Monday night or Tuesday. However, Duff told the Chicago Tribune that “the church responded ‘the minute we found out about this’” — although Schaap was not “told of his dismissal” until “Saturday following ‘two or three’ meetings with the board.”
• CBS Chicago cites one Trisha Kee, a “former member of First Baptist and now founder of a Facebook site for former First Baptist members,” who “says her group has received information about Pastor Schaap“: “‘Jack Schapp had left his cell phone on the pulpit and a deacon had seen it on the pulpit and had picked it up to bring it back to him,’ Kee said. ‘From what we understand, the deacon then saw a text come through from a teenage girl in the church, and it was a picture of Jack Schaap and this girl making out.’ Kee says she understands the girl had been going to Schaap for counseling, and she says another young woman has also come forward. ‘She was also going to him for counseling,’ Kee said.”
• We think this is the Facebook group CBS Chicago is referring to (do click; it makes for hours of fascinating reading): Do Right Hyles-Anderson
• First Baptist spokesperson Eddie Wilson told the Chicago Tribune that “Schaap admitted to deacons that he had an adulterous affair with the young woman, initially believed to be about 16. … ‘There was a rumor and the deacons questioned him, and that is when he admitted it,’ Wilson said.”
• First Baptist doesn’t expect charges to be filed against Schaap, because the girl was 17, and Indiana’s age of consent is 16.
• However, the church does not speak for either Lake County Sheriff John Buncich or the FBI; Buncich says the investigation is still continuing.
• Terry Duff told the Post-Tribune (and other news outlets) he doesn’t know where Schaap is right now, “but that Schaap is trying to reconcile with his wife, Cindy Schaap, the youngest daughter of former church leader Jack Hyles. The Schaaps have been married for more than 30 years, Duff said.”
• First Baptist has hired hgh-powered lawyer David Gibbs III, founder of the Christian Law Association, who turned from trying to keep the body of Terri Schiavo breathing (after her brain had turned to so much overcooked porridge) to attacking gay teenagers. (In our opinion, he’s not very good at attacking gay folks in general, as he can’t think of any better argument against marriage equality than the tired old clichés about polygamy, bestality, and robot marriage. Wait, wut? Robot marriage? Yep, robot marriage.)
• It appears Stuff Fundies Like saw this coming: “From all indications, Jack Schaap, the infamous pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond and chancellor of Hyles-Anderson college, is on his way out the door. For now he’s on ‘indefinite medical leave’ which in fundamentalism is generally accepted code for ‘about to be quietly fired for doing something horrible.’ Word to the wise: keep an eye on the Wednesday evening service at FBC this week. It might be worth your time.” Linking to an audio file of Schaap’s July 8th sermon, SFL offers a few transcribed excerpts that sound more like a confession than a sermon; e.g.:
“Let me ask your daughter something. You date him? Have you kissed him? Ya sleeping with him? Multiple times? … Your kid’s problem isn’t, the, did you see how short her skirt is, no, the problem is, she takes her skirt, and everything else off. Your kids are coming to me and telling me they have sexual experiences in the hundreds; hundreds; hundreds. … And when your teenager goes through adolescence and they start changing, and, Daddy, you don’t want to touch her anymore, you know you don’t want to hug her anymore; trust me, she’s got a boyfriend lined up who’ll be happy to touch her. … Mom, Dad, listen to me. I don’t need more business, but when your children reach that age, and they start going through that 13, 14, 15 year stage, send them to me, I’ll talk to them. …you don’t want to find out about it do you, Mom and Daddy. And I’ll tell you three reasons why. Number one, because you’re dirty yourself. … Do you know how many times your daughter sneaks out in the wee hours of the morning to have sex with her boyfriend? ‘Well, not my daughter.’ I’ll take pictures for ya. …”
The most ironic titles in the Jack Schaap library:
Dating with a Purpose (1994): “Common sense dating principles for couples, parents and youth workers.” (How about for husbands?)
Marriage: God’s Original Intent (1995): “In 1987 President George H. W. Bush recommended Judge Robert H. Bork to be a member of the United States Supreme Court. Bork was sabotaged by a liberal Congress because he believed in the something called ‘original intent.’ He believed that the interpretation of the United States Constitution should be applied according to the intent of America’s forefathers. I followed those hearings and became very interested in the words ‘original intent.’ When I teach marriage, I like to go back to the beginning and to help you as the reader to understand what God originally intended for every marriage and for each husband and wife.”
Preparing for Marriage (2002): “You will find practical helps on several topics including working with finances, building strong in-law relationships, handling disagreements amiably, preparing for the honeymoon, and dozens of other premarital topics that beg the attention of dating and engaged couples. …”
Marriage: The Divine Intimacy (2005): There’s no product description for this one — only a one-star reader review titled “Why Jack Schaap is a Sick Pervert.”
How to Speak Wife (2010): “You and your wife cannot build a great marriage that will ‘reach unto heaven’ until you speak the same language. This book will help you answer some questions about your role as a husband and your wife’s role as your partner. You and your wife could have a powerful marriage in which nothing would be withheld from you if you could translate the language of your wife and master the language that you should be speaking as a husband.”
How to Speak Husband (2011): “This book provides sound answers to some questions about a wife’s role in the marriage as well as her husband’s role as her marriage partner. When God saw the work at the Tower of Babel, he said that nothing would be restrained from man because the people were on the same page, speaking the same language. … [A] married couple has the potential of having a powerful marriage in which nothing would be withheld from them if they could learn to translate the language each one speaks. Every wife needs to learn to interpret the language of her husband and master that language which she should be speaking as a wife.”
And here’s one Mr. Schaap may want to re-write: Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage
(And then there’s the bit about how Jesus is the one who wants “be the most intimate of intimates with you.” Excuse us while we bleach our brains clear of that visual image.)
• Hyles Publications has wiped clean the entire front page of its website, and deleted any mention of Jack Schaap’s existence. (Try searching for “Schaap” on the site, and then take a look at all the pages still cached by Google to get an idea of how much work that clean-up job must have involved.)
• Hyles-Anderson Administrative Vice President and teacher Ken Schaap, Jack and Cindy Schaap’s son (and Jack Hyles’s grandson) — who teaches the “Lasting Legacy Adult Bible Class” at First Baptist (in which he and his wife Candace “work together … to help married couples and families put Christ at the center of their home”) — has deleted his Twitter account (cache), locked down his blog, “The Preacher and the Professor” (cached pages), and even deleted his LinkedIn profile (cache). Ken Schaap also co-hosts (with Jerod Long) a radio show called “Theology Without Apology.” We’re curious about what he’ll say on his next program.
Finally: It appears today (August 1, 2012) was the day the Indiana State Board of Education was due to discuss state accreditation for Hammond Baptist Schools. Read the “executive summary … compiled by the Office of School Accreditation,” which “includes information presented by the school during the accreditation process, potential legal standard issues, and any other information collected during the process that may impact accreditation” (and let us know if it disappears; we can always put up our copy), which is quite humorous if you know anything about Hyles-Anderson’s wacky (and unaccredited) “diploma” programs (see our main entry for Jack Hyles to read about HAC’s ridiculous “courses,” including “Christian Manhood,” “Evangelistic Songleading,” “Christian Ladies’ Attitude and Appearance,” et al.).
Hammond Baptist Schools is bucking for “Full Five-Year Freeway Accreditation” — which was a mystery to us until we found out what is meant by a “Freeway School.” School Matters explains:
“When Indiana adopted a ‘freeway schools’ law in the mid-1990s, it was billed as a way to free public schools from burdensome regulations. Schools — or even entire school corporations — could get a pass on rules concerning curriculum, textbooks, etc., in exchange for signing a contract with the state to achieve and maintain high levels of performance.
“But the program evolved into something very different: A way for private schools, especially religious schools, to be accredited by the state without meeting the same requirements as most public schools.
“A list provided by the state Department of Education shows there are now 141 freeway schools . Almost all are private. Judging by their names, all but a dozen or so are religious schools.
“Accreditation is a nice stamp of approval. But with the state’s new voucher law, it’s something more. Private schools that are accredited — including those that are accredited as freeway schools — can qualify for government-funded tuition vouchers for students who transfer from public schools.”
Read the rest at the link. In the end, it sounds like just another way for Christian schools to worm out from under regulations governing public schools — while receiving federal funding, just like public schools which are held to a higher standard, and far more accountability.
There’s much more coming down the pike (and we’ve been encouraged, even inspired, to follow up on the legions of Hyles-Anderson scoundrels we’ve been neglecting), but we want to get this entry up. So, in the meantime, read what we’ve been reading — and stay tuned:
• “Hammond megachurch fires pastor amid investigation,” AP, July 31, 2012
• “Hammond Pastor Dismissed For ‘Improper Relationship With Young Woman’,” CBS Chicago, July 31, 2012
• “No charges expected against Hammond church leader ,” Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, August 1, 2012
• “Church spokesman says no charges expected against Schaap,” Chelsea Schneider Kirk, Hammond News, August 1, 2012
• “Married mega-church pastor, 54, fired after deacon finds his cell phone on the pulpit – and ‘sees text of preacher and 16-year-old church girl making out’,” Beth Stebner, Daily Mail, August 1, 2012
• “Hammond church on fired pastor: ‘We trusted that man’,” Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune, August 1, 2012
• “Hammond congregation accepts investigation with prayer, hurt,” Lindsay Machak, Hammond News, August 1, 2012
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