Former Hammond pastor faces 10 years to life for sex offense

2012-09-19T18:20:00Z 2014-10-15T15:54:09Z Former Hammond pastor faces 10 years to life for sex offenseMarc Chase, (219) 662-5330
September 19, 2012 6:20 pm  • 

HAMMOND | An Apple iPad, iPhone, digital camera and digital voice recorder belonging to a disgraced former Baptist pastor are among the evidence showing he had a sexual relationship with a minor, according to court documents made public Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors allege former Pastor Jack Schaap used those — and other — electronic devices when he carried on a sexual relationship with a minor, driving the girl to both Illinois and Michigan between June and July to commit the acts.

Schaap, who signed a plea agreement with prosecutors Tuesday admitting to the charge of transporting a minor across state lines for sexual acts, appeared at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Hammond federal court. Schaap was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals to await a plea hearing set for 1 p.m. Sept. 26.

During Wednesday's hearing, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry asked Schaap if he understood the possible sentences he could face if convicted of the charge.

"Unfortunately, I do, sir," said Schaap, who was accompanied to court Wednesday by his wife and other family members.

According to the plea agreement, which will be considered at next week's hearing, Schaap faces a statutory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to a life sentence.

Church officials have said Schaap, 54, of Dyer, was dismissed from his leading role at Hammond's First Baptist Church in late July after he told them about a sexual relationship with a young female church member.

Court documents made public Wednesday indicate the U.S. attorney has demanded Schaap forfeit an Apple iPad, iPhone, digital voice recorder, two computer flash drives, a Motorola Razor cellphone and a Canon digital camera "used to commit or to promote the commission of the offense."

A statement released by the church in late July said Schaap committed "a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor."

The FBI then began looking into the relationship between Schaap and the girl, who was reportedly 17 when the allegations surfaced.

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