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Megachurch Pastor’s Excuse for Having Sex With Teenager

Jack Schaap, pastor of a huge megachurch in Hammond, Indiana, came up with a novel excuse for why he had a sexual relationship with a 16 year old girl: He was just so stressed out about donations going down at the church that he couldn’t help himself:

Jack Schaap, who pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in Hammond in September to transporting a minor across state lines for sexual relations, says in his sentencing memorandum that the stress from his health and his church’s depleting finances led to him suffering from depression shortly before he started the month-long relationship with the girl, who turned 17 a week after it started. Donations to his mega-church, one of the largest in the country, were down, which meant the church had to lay off employees and Schaap was working up to 100 hours a week.

Part of that increased work included counseling students, one of whom was his victim, at First Baptist’s schools.

That’s the worst excuse since Newt Gingrich said he cheated on his first two wives because he just loved his country so much. By the way, 140 members of his church submitted letters to the court in his support, including his wife:

“We were known for our happy marriage, and it was not a hypocrisy; it was real,” Cindy Schaap, Jack Schaap’s wife, said in a letter.

You just keep telling yourself that.

Comments

  1. says

    “We were known for our happy marriage, and it was not a hypocrisy; it was real,”

    … There were just a few critical pieces of information missing.

  2. slc1 says

    If the girl was 16, isn’t this statutory rape? Will the state be prosecuting him after the feds get through with him?

  3. eric says

    By the way, 140 members of his church submitted letters to the court in his support, including his wife

    So, then, he should enter a plea of “guilty but a really nice guy.”

  4. marcus says

    Well at least he didn’t say it wasn’t his fault because she seduced him. Although I would be willing to bet that his wife is blaming (to her mind) the little “tramp”.

  5. Abby Normal says

    SLC1, 16 is the age of consent in Indiana. So it probably wasn’t rape from a legal perspective.

  6. stever says

    Anyone else creeped out by the Christian preachers’ use of “pastor?” The word means “shepherd”, implying that they see their followers as sheep. You know what sheep are for: to be fleeced (and sometimes slaughtered) to enrich the shepherd.

  7. says

    I can’t help but wonder how many of the hundred hours per week were devoted to singly out the young girls he was going to try to have sex with, or counseling as he calls it.

  8. cag says

    At the recent funeral of my brother, my comments were snooze worthy. What I really wanted to say was:

    I would like to correct some misconceptions about my brother. The presumptuous pompous ass in the dog collar who somehow slipped off the leash has made some rather scurrilous remarks in regard to my brother, who is unable to demand a retraction. This demented individual, full of righteous ignorance and superstitious beliefs, beliefs that would be amusing in a 3 year old but is highly inappropriate in an adult, makes unsupported pronouncements about my dead brother. You, sir, have uttered the most vile and inhumane comments about my brother, you have called him a christian. I can think of no insult more detestable than to call someone a christian.

    To be a christian involves belief in a so-called “holey” book, a book that claims that the earth is the centre of the universe (“In the beginning god made the heaven and the earth”) and that the sun and everything that makes up the solar system and all the stars planets and debris in the rest of the universe are fixed in some “firmament”. The same book that claims that one can see the 4 corners of the world (Rev. 7;1) and has detailed instructions on how to treat slaves, proscribes death for working on the Sabbath, death to unruly children, death to non-virgin brides and a number of other “infractions”. The same book that demands that women be quiet in the church.

    I have been known to compare religious leaders with snake oil salesmen. I wish to correct that scurrilous assertion forthwith. Snake oil salesmen, please forgive me for comparing you to clergy. You only defraud an individual once, twice at most. The clergy’s aim is to defraud individuals every week for the rest of their lives. You sell an actual product, it may be that the product is totally useless, but it is still a product. The church sells an unfulfillable promise with no way to collect or get a refund. The price per gram of vacuum that the church sells is infinite. You at least have the decency to get out of town while the clergy live in various levels of comfort. Many clergy live much better lives than those who they delude.

    We do not need moral guidance from a book that instructs us how hard we can beat our slaves before it becomes an offence. We do not need moral guidance from any one who gets their moral guidance from a book that has a god who commands that all Amalekites, including children (1 Samuel 15:3) and their animals be put to death. We do not need moral guidance from a book that proscribes death as the penalty for working on the sabbath (Exodus 35:2), or anyone who believes such a patently erroneous book offers guidance for a good life. A book that demands death for a rape victim if she does not scream loud enough (Deut . 22:23-24) is not worthy of respect. Anyone using such a vile book to control the lives of others is worthy of gross contempt. You should hang your head in shame.

    Preacher man on the TV
    And his message is not wise,
    For his oleaginous visage
    Is a cover for the lies.
    Preacher man very sleazy
    And the book he reads from is lies,
    But the truth of the matter
    He is in it for the tithe.
    Preacher man in his pulpit
    And his words are full of spite
    For his pay is increased
    By the absurdity of his lies.
    Preacher man visits parishioners
    To look them in their eyes
    For the lies that he utters
    Are a money making device.
    Preacher man at the altar
    And the altar boys are nice
    But after their “instruction”
    They’ll look behind them more than twice.
    Preacher man in the courtroom
    And his freedom is on ice
    For his child rearing ways
    Will incarcerate him for life.
    Preacher man in the jail house
    And now he is thinking twice
    That his many prevarications
    Confused thousands of lives.

  9. says

    Anyone else creeped out by the Christian preachers’ use of “pastor?” The word means “shepherd”, implying that they see their followers as sheep. You know what sheep are for: to be fleeced (and sometimes slaughtered) to enrich the shepherd.

    And some find other uses, both for the “lambs” as well as the adults. Of course, this is also for the pastor’s benefit, not the victim’s, and it’s also easily forgiven by the other sheep.

  10. Doug Little says

    You know what sheep are for: to be fleeced (and sometimes slaughtered) to enrich the shepherd.

    And if you are from New Zealand…. I kid, I kid.

  11. ohioobserver says

    Re: those who believe his justification and continue to support him: Is it me, or is it them, who lives in the weird world? I’m a high-school teacher, spend my entire working day with nubile young women, and never ONCE in my almost 30 years of teaching have I even THOUGHT of having anything close to an intimate relationship with any of them. It’s not normal, right, safe, or honorable. It’s nuts. Especially when you consider that teenagers are the world’s champion gossips, have very low filters for the consequences of risky behavior, and whatever happens is bound to get out. It’s suicidal. So what ethical system did these people grow up with? That it’s OK to firetruck a teenager if you’re a “Man of God?” Holy Sh**.

  12. Larry says

    “Counseling students”. That’s what they’re calling it these now.

    Back in the day, we used to refer to it as “hiking the Appalachian trail”.

  13. DaveL says

    Anyone else creeped out by the Christian preachers’ use of “pastor?” The word means “shepherd”, implying that they see their followers as sheep. You know what sheep are for: to be fleeced (and sometimes slaughtered) to enrich the shepherd.

    As someone who actually raises sheep, I am endlessly amused that Christians use this metaphor. It fit the Old Testament God fairly well, actually – he took care of the Hebrew people as a whole, but on the individual level people were expendable. However, I doubt if any of the New Testament authors were shepherds, or even if they knew any shepherds personally.

  14. says

    @slc1 #3 – A lot depends on the state. In Washington State, the de facto age of consent is 16. However, if the older person is in a position of authority over the younger, then the age of consent is 18. Here, he would be guilty of a Class C felony if it was actual intercourse, or a gross misdemeanor if there was not.

    (Washington’s laws are a bit complex, in that we have no explicit age of consent and age difference is taken into consideration. If anyone is interested, the relevant laws are in Revised Code of Washington 9A.44)

  15. tomhuld says

    If he was worried about funding, couldn’t this just be a novel form of fund raising? You go around with the collection plate and say: “Nice daughter you got there, shame if something should happen to her”.

  16. says

    “By the way, 140 members of his church submitted letters to the court in his support, including his wife…”

    And herein lies the problem. I can understand why people instinctively lend support to one of their own even when it’s clear that they’ve done something wrong (he may be an asshole, but he’s our asshole), but the leaders of fundie churches can apparently commit child rape, embezzlement, solicit prostitution, snort meth, and just about any other serious form of misconduct and still not be ostracized. Is it any wonder that they keep doing these things?

  17. davefitz says

    See, this is what happens when gays can marry. Sigh, if only Jack had take Christ as his personal sav…nevermind.

  18. vmanis1 says

    Isaiah 53:6: `For we, like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way’. That first comma really does change the meaning! (The metre actually works if you sing `For we like sheep, but they like goats’.)

    Back to the topic of this thread. I would have some respect, as opposed to none, for Schaap if he were to say `I accept personal responsiblity for the disgrace I have brought on myself, my family, and this congregation, as well as the pain I have inflicted on this young woman. Accordingly, I am going to resign, get some counselling, and attempt to rebuild my life to earn your respect again.’ But they never do that.

  19. says

    What is quite surprising in this case is the fact that he was very rapidly deposed as pastor and reported to the FBI. Often pastors like Schaap have such a tight grip on their church hierarchy that such things can be hushed up and made to go away (until the victim decides to come forward, anyway).

    Schaap succeeded his father-in-law as pastor of that megachurch, and there is quite a history of sexual shenanigans from during the 1990s with multiple lawsuits and even an arrest for child molestation amongst the staff. Perhaps that’s why Schaap was so rapidly turned over to the authorities.

  20. Rip Steakface says

    A lot depends on the state. In Washington State, the de facto age of consent is 16. However, if the older person is in a position of authority over the younger, then the age of consent is 18. Here, he would be guilty of a Class C felony if it was actual intercourse, or a gross misdemeanor if there was not.

    Washingtonian teen here. I’ve had friends date people up to four years (or more!) younger than them, and the complexity of our laws comes into play when seniors or freshly-graduated people are dating freshmen or sophomores (this is all high school here). My best friend is dating a girl just under 4 years younger than him – he turns 19 on inauguration day, and she is currently 15. I investigated our laws for them, and apparently the laws include a bit where a 15 year old can consent to sex with a person less than 40 months (might have been 42, but somewhere around or above 40 and below 50) older than them.

    Of course, the friend in question is a straight-edge, straight-laced type who would ask for permission before holding her hand, let alone having sex with her. Heheh.

  21. bybelknap says

    Regarding sheep, shepherds, goats and goatherds, one of my favorite quotes from Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

    “The merest accident of microgeography had meant that the first man to hear the voice of Om, and who gave Om his view of humans, was a shepherd and not a goatherd. They have quite different ways of looking at the world, and the whole of history might have been different. For sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.”

  22. says

    If you people would just give him more money, he wouldn’t have to bone high-schoolers — sheesh, isn’t that obvious? Oh, and you’re *welcome*, BTW.

  23. DaveL says

    The role of the shepherd is to take care of his sheep and to protect them from danger

    Well, if you leave out the whole “fleecing them and eating their young” part, then yes.

  24. davidhart says

    Okay, fine. Gratuitous wooly temptations joke from my corner of the world (Scotland):

    How can you tell the difference between Mick Jagger and an Aberdeenshire farmer?

    Jagger says “Hey, you! Get off of my cloud!”
    The Aberdeenshire farmer says “Hey, MacLeod! Get off of my ewe!”

  25. stace says

    Back in the day, we used to refer to it as “hiking the Appalachian trail”.

    In West Virginia, I believe it’s known as hiking that Appalachian tail.

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