Former Hammond pastor signs plea in federal child sex case

2012-09-18T21:15:00Z 2014-10-15T15:54:09Z Former Hammond pastor signs plea in federal child sex caseLindsay Machak, (219) 933-3246

HAMMOND | A local megachurch's former leader signed a plea agreement in federal court Tuesday admitting he took a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Jack Schaap signed the agreement the same day prosecutors presented a criminal complaint charging him with interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office. The complaint had not yet been made public in the online docket late Tuesday.

Schaap, 54, of Dyer, was dismissed from his leadership role at First Baptist Church in Hammond in late July after telling church officials about an explicit relationship with a young girl.

A news release the church issued in late July stated 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 a girl, who was 17 when the allegations surfaced.

Federal agents investigated whether Schaap transported the female church member across state lines for illegal sexual activity and whether she was below the federal age of consent, which is 18 years old.

Schaap is scheduled for an initial appearance in court at 3 p.m. today. Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry will oversee the court proceedings.

First Baptist Church officials declined to comment.

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