PHOTOGRAPH: KYLE TELECHAN/THE TIMES/AP
This Wednesday, we will hear the sentencing of disgraced pastor Jack Schaap, who has pleaded guilty to having sex with an underage girl who attended his church. This is the next chapter in the story of the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, an organization Chicago magazine has been following since a feature in the January 2013 issue.
In this trial, Schaap began by claiming, in effect, that his prostate made him do it, as part of an attempt to lighten his 10-year minimum prison sentence. But his excuses riled federal prosecutors, who countered by filing a 23-page response that revealed previously withheld details of the disgraced 55-year-old pastor’s actions.
This memorandum will be instrumental in determining the pastor’s sentence. A look through its contents reveals plenty of cringe-inducing behaviors. Here are five of the most disgusting details:
1) Schaap kissing the victim during counseling. “When I asked you if it was wrong, you said, ‘No,’” the girl said in a statement. “You told me that I was sent to you from God; I was his gift to you.”
2) Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together. The two spoke on the phone or texted each other more than 600 times, according to prosecutors. In one transcript, a text from Schaap reads: “Yesterday was ‘off-the-charts!’ :)))”. Another read, in part, “[this] is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants us to marry + become eternal lovers!”
3) Schaap’s cover stories for his numerous rendezvous with the teen. One, for his trips to an Illinois forest preserve, was that he needed to “spend time with God walking and praying.” To explain his taking the girl alone to his Michigan cabin, he told his assistant that he needed to spend extended periods of time alone with the girl to “save” her—both literally and spirtually. Investigators later recovered photos taken inside the cabin showing a grinning Schaap “on a couch in an intimate pose” with the girl and also “french-kissing [her] while touching her in a sexual manner.”
4) Schaap having sex with the teen in his office. During a church youth conference.
5) Schaap dishonoring the teen’s father and mother. “I will never forget how [he] looked me in the eyes…and told me how great my daughter was doing,” the father wrote in a victim’s impact statement. “It is sickening to me that a man who claims to be a messenger of God, with a daughter of his own, would take advantage of a young girl in such an evil and immoral manner.”