Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Polish-a-Shaft Pastor Signs Plea Deal for Sex with Minor

Remember the former "polish-a-shaft" pastor, Jack Schaap of 15,000-member mega-church Hammond First Baptist Church in Indiana I discussed here:  Too Crazy for Words?  Just in case you missed the video the first time around, I dare you to watch it.  Do you suppose anyone in the church could have imagined that this dude had some sort of sexual "issues"?  Just maybe?






  Well, he got his day in court.  Here's a snippet of the Chicago Tribune Article:

A former northwest Indiana pastor was charged in federal court today with taking a minor across state lines in and has signed a plea agreement, prosecutors announced.
Jack A. Schaap, of Crete, and Dyer, Ind., was charged in a criminal information in U.S. District Court in Hammond, Ind., according a news release from the district’s U.S. attorney’s office.
The FBI had confirmed last month that it was investigating whether Schaap, the former pastor of an Indiana megachurch, broke any laws during a relationship with a girl who was 17 last month that led to his ouster from First Baptist Church in Hammond.
Schaap, 54, admitted to adultery and "improper behavior" with the teenager, leading a board of deacons to fire him last month, a church spokesman said at the time.


* * * * *Update 9/19/12  Based on this article:  Pastor could get 10 years for sex across state lines charge:  

The charge comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, which federal attorneys say they will recommend.


Jack Schaap is married to Cynthia Hyles, the daughter of First Baptist's founder, Jack Hyles.   If you would like to dig deeper into the church's history of sex scandals, blogger Bruce Gerenscer has written a very informative article, The Legacy of Jack Hyles.  Bruce did a great job with this article and the facts seem to match up with the sources I've read and it's all in one place.  There is a long history of sexual coverup at that church.  

If you'd like to learn more, here is a fairly recent TEDx video of Linda Murphrey, daughter of Jack Hyles, called, "From Cult to Courage".  It is a a very personal and disturbing testimony of Linda discussing her life as the daughter of Jack Hyles:  what it was like to be part of her father's mega-church, the spiritual abuse, sexual secrets in the family and church committed by her father and brother, including the massive cover-ups in the church.  







Let's hope and pray that the church in Hammond will clean up from the top down so that the members may heal and grow.  





34 comments:

  1. I suggest they disband, find healthy churches to join, sell the property and give the money to the poor.

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    1. That's probably not a bad idea, Craig. Even if they did a clean sweep from the top down, you have people who have been fed by someone who was not a true shepherd and the church as a whole is unhealthy.

      Delete
  2. I have been reading the book of Jeremiah lately. In Jeremiah 22, the king of Judah is rebuked. It was a low time morally in Israel’s history. There are some interesting principles in this passage which are a contrast between a righteous king, following the covenant of Yahweh, and their present king, who did not. How leaders behave--is important to God.

    One of the key phrases asks: “Does it ‘make you a king’ to have more and more cedar?” Good question. The response for the reader is: What does ‘make you’ a king—a righteous king??! That question is answered by the example given.

    Jer. 22:8-9, 13-17
    “People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?’ And the answer will be: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods.’” ...

    “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,his upper rooms by injustice,making his own people work for nothing,not paying them for their labor. ...

    “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?
    Did not your father have food and drink?
    He did what was right and just,so all went well with him.
    He defended the cause of the poor and needy,and so all went well.
    Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.

    “But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain,
    on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion.”

    That about covers it.

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  3. The Multi-Billion Dollar Fraud
    Fraud even innocently perpetrated is still fraud in the eyes of the law. Although tithing is often innocently promoted by some well meaning yet highly misguided teachers, it is also pushed by some very greedy people, some of who are very much aware of the tithing error. Their love of money supercedes any interest in truth. And, far from being just another error, the modern tithing doctrine has become what amounts to a major multi-billion dollar fraud that has been and continues to be perpetrated upon the vast majority of Christians. Tithe teachers should be very careful. When it comes to money, especially such astronomical tax-free amounts, the government doesn’t take financial fraud lightly.

    Even in church circles, even under the supposed protection of “spiritual matters” and the separation of church and state, if the government ever decides to get involved, and decides to look deeper into what is really going on here, tithe teachers could face some serious jail time and be required to give the money back and / or pay taxes on it. Such a crackdown could permanently compromise the tax-exempt status of even legitimate non-tithe promoting ministries such as some of those who help the poor. Jesus paid His taxes so I am not overly concerned about ministries having a tax-exempt status but these tithe teachers are playing fast and loose with billions of tax-free dollars, abusing multitudes financially, and they may end up in serious trouble with the law and end up ruining the tax-exempt status of all ministries even good ones.
    -Paul Howey

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    1. Paul, thanks for stopping by. You raise a good point. The founding pastor, Jack Hyles, owned much of the town according to many reports I've read. The excessive lifestyle of some pastors is so contrary to the example of Christ we see in scripture.

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  4. Every time I see that man (Jack Schaap) he disgusts me.

    I'm glad, for his own sake, his church's sake, and for the safety of woman kind, that he has been caught.
    I hope he repents in tears and escapes the judgement to come.

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    1. Mara - I really enjoy your blog. Nice to "see" you here.

      I have a hunch that he might be crying only because he got caught. Usually these types are narcissists who do not have the capability of understanding what damage their actions have done.

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  5. Craigvick,

    Nope. It will just spawn several like churches because they are taking the same philosophy with them that is contra priesthood of believers. One must ask: why was it ok with the thousands that knew? Answer: "Well, c'mon, everyone knows that kings have concubines." Bottom line: the sexapades by the Hyles cartel were practically done in broad daylight for years. A Baptist newspaper that wrote nonstop exposes on Hyles for years was ignored. Better that many go to heaven rather than to make a petty issue of our children being sacrificed on the alter of their desires. The least we can do is let them have their perks for suffering in their ministry to the totally depraved zombie sheep.

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    1. Paul - What do you think should be done with this mess?

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    2. Julie Anne,
      That's an easy one: all out laity rebellion. Vacate organized churches and start home churches.

      BTW, it was nice to see Mara here--blessings to that sister.

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    3. I like the idea of home churches a lot. I see that example in the Bible. I also have heard from some who were spiritually abused in home churches. Such confusing times.

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  6. Is it wrong for me to hope that his man gets the full punishment he deserves? Is it even more wrong for me to not be happy about the fact he may not get that full punishment because he signed a plea deal?

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    1. No and no, Kathi!

      We have the obvious issue at hand: the young lady - the ramifications for her and her family. We also have the ramifications of this man's actions against his own wife and family. The bigger issue is what disturbs me the most. For people like me, who have not had decent father figures or have lacked decent spiritual "father figures", this is devastating. This shepherd violated so many spiritual, emotional, sexual boundaries. What are the young men in this church thinking of this spiritual leader? How about those who are wavering in their faith? What is it doing to their faith? This is also spiritual abuse, is it not? How does a mega church heal from this kind of mess?

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  7. Headless Unicorn GuySeptember 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Jack Schaap is married to Cynthia Hyles, the daughter of First Baptist's founder, Jack Hyles.

    I assume this means Jack Hyles didn't have a male heir to the throne, so Schaap married into the line of succession?

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    1. Jack Hyles has a son, David. If you watch the YouTube above by Linda Murphrey, she discusses David. This is from Wikipedia: David, who has been accused of having multiple affairs spanning many years"

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  8. julie anne, you ask the question, how does a megachurch heal from this sort of mess.....
    FORGIVENESS.
    It doesn't mean there is no accountabilty, it is the actual acknowledgement that great harm Was done, and there needs to be RESTITUTION for healing to occure. That may come through the law of the state, or by divine intervention. But eventually we have to release anger and move toward mercy, as Jesus taught. Praying for their repentance. Or we kid ourselves that we are exempt of temptations/failures. The scriptures warn us to be watchful, not be confident in the flesh. Yes expose the apostacy, but forgive the sinner. But you do not restore into positions of leadership people who with knowledge hurt the flock.

    Maggie

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    1. I think, Maggie, I was looking at the bigger picture. You have a mega church who was led by a spiritually abusive person who also was a criminal. It is going to take a lot of relearning what is the truth to get these people on their feet again. If it was just the criminal activity, then I think the restitution process you describe is the correct process.

      Our church was podunk size and I remember thinking to myself that although I loved those members who left with me, I didn't think it was all that healthy of us all to group together and come to a new church with our "baggage". In fact, earlier in the blog, there was a comment left by a local pastor who discussed this issue. He mentioned in a comment that he and his staff had to work hard to try to "detox" the people from our former church. In a sense, we brought our toxic thinking to our new churches and it had potential to infect others in the healthy church. When you have a group of people who were spiritual damaged who end up at a healthy church, there are going to be challenges of integrating and connecting. It's a long process.

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  9. Maggie,

    It is important that we understand the process. First, there is discovery, and in sex abuse or child abuse or spouse abuse, there is reporting to the authorities. Second, there must be no diversion of the legal process. Third, there must be contrition and confession (I have seen 'confessions" that do not include contrition, and they are really inadequate).

    Following confession, there must be some penance. That is, there must be some time of learning and a penalty. Then there can be forgiveness. However, forgiveness does not and should not result in restoration, particularly in the instance of a pastor or other professional, without significant change in the life practices of the offender, and accompanied by oversight so intense that a repeat is no longer possible.

    I have seen too many churches want to restore a pastor or other leader to the prior role, without adequate supervision, because they had 'confessed'. It is highly dangerous to do so.

    In many of the cases that appear in the media, it turns out that others in the church knew of a prior event that was hushed up so that the "man of God" could be returned to the pulpit. When that is the case, there needs to be a cleaning of the whole house, booting out all in leadership who had any knowledge of the prior offense.

    When it comes to child abuse and straying from marriage vows, men come in three varieties. (1) those who never do it; (2) those who slip and do it once and are so affected by it they will never again and take steps to prevent it; and (3) those we call "predators", who do it over and over again unless and until caught. In adult to adult relationships, the predator is also called a "player".

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    1. You are so right, An Attorney. I personally know of a pedophile who has victimized many little boys for years. Statute of limitations has expired on all of these cases and he has been free his whole life. He confesses to the crimes, apologizes, but has difficulty disclosing his background to pastors and usually avoids putting himself in places where he can be held accountable. He also minimizes his crimes and even argues with his victims about what was done.

      It is important to look at what a healthy repentant person looks like: they do not minimize their crimes, they know they are susceptible and automatically will put safeguards in place for their protection and for the protection of others, they voluntarily put themselves under accountability and a huge one is they are humble.

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    2. Attorney,
      Your post lost me a bit there. Let's not with all respect, create confussion. We should never operate as the world. Yes I did mention restitution, for the offended. But some times that never comes, but only through the power of the cross. We as christians should not be driven by feelings of revenge. And you need to forgive for your own healing, not wait till the offender learns their lesson. That's NOT BIBLICAL. I don't know all the steps involved in our legal system, and when we do take the step of bringing the law into things, we are not released by our heavenly Father from our duties as born again saints. We have to forgive, hating the sin, but loving the sinner...that's not the worlds way...that's the way Jesus taught , there is forgiveness for everyone, even repeat offenders. But that is why we operate through the Spirit , and always use Godly wisdom to keep these situations Out of the Church.

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    3. Maggie,

      With all due respect, I believe you're being a bit myopic. You describe the relationship between us and the abuser, but don't seem to see the victims both present and future. We have a responsibility to those victims. That responsibility is Biblical. It's not revenge to do what's in our power to protect children from abusers.

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    4. An Attorney, I thought your response was great. You detailed legal practices but also called out biblical practices. Thank you for that. You are right when you say, "However, forgiveness does not and should not result in restoration, particularly in the instance of a pastor or other professional, without significant change in the life practices of the offender, and accompanied by oversight so intense that a repeat is no longer possible."

      Forgiveness is something we own, certainly. But just because you forgive someone does not mean that you restore them immediately. I can forgive a murderer for killing a loved one. Does that mean I will hang out with the murderer or invite them into my home? Absolutely not!

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  10. julie
    The Lord knew all these things would happen. What seems difficult and damage, and toxic for us, is an opportunity for Him to glorify Himself. Let's not create a cloud of eternal gloom. Where the Word of God is taught there is healing. Gods power is not limited or taken by surprise by wounded individuals. The idea of people contaminating others is not unheard of but not necessarily an issue. Hurting people hurt others, true, but that's why The Holy Spirit is present. Many pastors have actually taken up training to learn how to deal, and equip other leaders on how to handle these delicate situations. Not all pastors are clueless. Many do great recovery of these scattered sheep. Its their job. Let's Not forget to be grateful for the ones who are truly called. Why not move on to a better place and be fed as God ordained. God does not want broken vessels to remain broken. Let's not make this So bleak.

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    1. ok, now you are just being disrespectul. I never said we should not pursue justice when it is the absolute right thing to do. Now you sound like a witch posing as a christian to create clouds of scandle were there are none. Yeah the devil advocates for good causes too to make Christians look like victims, or change Gods true order. Whatever. YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE....GOD BLESS..IM DONE.

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  11. Maggie,

    One can forgive within their heart. But forgiveness should not be expressed to the perpetrator until there has been contrition, confession and repentance. To tell them they are forgiven prior is to encourage them to continue in diminishing the importance of what they have done and how they have damaged others as well as the cause of Christ.

    As an attorney, I have helped congregations that were shattered by a second offense by the founding pastors of what were large congregations. The first offense was covered up, forgiven by the lay leadership, and minimized by the perpetrator pastor in each case. That led to the another offense, which became widely known, along the the fact of the earlier offense, and nearly destroyed the church. There are both Christian and psychological reasons to require contrition, confession and repentance prior to expressions of forgiveness. And no victim should be required or pressured by anyone to express forgiveness, and it is their forgiveness that matters, second only to the forgiveness by God. Healing sometimes takes a lifetime, and demanding that an unhealed person offer forgiveness to their abuser or rapist is cruel and unChristian in the extreme.

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    1. People have great difficulty with conflict and want it resolved quickly, but sometimes lose sight of what is really important in the process, true repentance. I agree with what you have expressed, An Attorney. Thank you!

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  12. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS JULIE ANNE; WHAT A POWERFUL STORY LINDA HAS. I AM THANKFUL FOR WHAT SHE SHARED. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO USE HER STORY AS OTHERS CONTINUE TO HEAL, JUST AS I AM HEALING ALSO.

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    1. Nancy - thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found Linda's video helpful. It is a powerful story of love, grace, recovery, forgiveness. I was very moved by it the first time I saw it approximately a month ago. Continued prayers for your healing, Nancy :)

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  13. Stacey,

    I have been a Christian for 56 years. I have been an attorney for 13 years. One area of practice is helping churches prevent incidents that result in the abuse of children especially, but also others, such as the elderly, at church or through the actions of a staff member; I also help churches recover from an incident when it occurs and deal with the effects of a pastor straying sexually, whether with a child or an adult. My goal is always to see the victims and potential victims protected, help and healed, and to protect the church from being destroyed by the sin of a pastor or staff member.

    I do not distort the truth. I am committed to learning the truth and using the truth to accomplish what is on my letterhead and business card: "Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly".

    I am sad that I have become an expert on the matter of sexual misconduct in the church and its possible impacts on the lives of victims, family members of both the victim and perpetrator, and on the congregation. As a committed Christian, who has chosen to live in a poor community and give my services to people who cannot pay, in thankfulness that God preserved my life and the lives of my family after a terrible automobile accident (run off the road by a drunk at 70 mph, end over end down a long embankment), I am insulted by your comment. Your "go team" remark is something no real Christian should say.

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    1. Attorney,
      As I wrote before your identity is questionable. And you should not take offense to the comment "go team" if in fact you truly are legit. That's what we do, we know our own. You speak in a manner that is creepy, by speaking of future victims. Christians are not victims unless they choose to be. When people don't read their bibles, seek Godly council from leadership that are backed up by the holy spirit, live by what they represent is in the scriptures, no one should decieve you. Calling Christians future victims is horrible. God never appointed the state to police the church. You sound like an ambulance chaser. Get a grip. Gods people don't need you for defence unless they choose your advise which should be the last resort unless legal matters need be introduced. You really sound like you have a personal mission to exaggerate. Chill out. Your resume Was not solicited. And it still sounds fake. Reality is Not all churches harbor Potential pervs or criminals, stupid maybe....stop being so over the top. Shout out to Christians who live for Christ and it truly bless others. Peace!

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    2. Stacey said: "Christians are not victims unless they choose to be"

      Stacey, If your pastor had sex with your underage minor, would you not consider your child to be a victim?

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  14. Atacey,

    It is your identity which is questionable.

    Children who are sexually abused by a church leader or pastor are victims who have been irreparably harmed as both the scientific, psychological and Christian counseling literature demonstrates. You cannot be a Christian and have no compassion for the victims of abuse, especially expecting them to forgive prior to a contrite confession by the offender.

    Churches get sued. Churches split. Both happen as a result of sexual abuse by a church leader. My role as a Christian attorney, with a Ph.D. in psychology, is to work with the church to help prevent and minimize the damage to the church that is almost inevitable in these cases.

    I do not make decisions for the church. But I give them my best advice and, if there is a pending legal action against the church, I can negotiate with the plaintiff's attorney to redirect their attention to the abuser rather than the church that consists of many innocent people.

    It is you that is illegit. Your lack of compassion for abused children proves that you are not a true Christian.

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  15. Julie Anne,

    Please delete the slanderous remarks by Stacey and her other personas. Her accusations are ridiculous and inappropriate.

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    1. I apologize, An Attorney. I was away from the computer for a while and missed that comment. I have deleted the most offensive comments. I was trying to get a grasp of the direction they were going, but the last one in particular was clearly offensive and has no place here. I am a champion of free speech, but this blog will remain a safe place for those who have been harmed by abuse in the church.

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