This past Wednesday, Jack Schaap - the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana - was sentenced to 12 years for the statutory rape of a girl in the church whom he was "counseling."
After pleading guilty in September in a deal with federal prosecutors, both sides had agreed on the 10-year minimum sentence. U.S. District Court Judge Rudy Lozano however passed down a 12-year sentence, saying that this was in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines. Additionally, Schaap will be on 5 years of supervised probation following his release, and must register as a sex offender for life.
Based on the full text of his letters to the girl, which have since been released by the prosecution, as well as past perverted teachings and in particular his displays of gross sexual misconduct from the pulpit, I am certain that this girl was not his first and only victim.
My hope is that other victims will have the boldness to come forward with their stories, so this pervert can stay behind bars for life.
Read on below for details of the sentencing memorandums.
You can find the full text of his side of the story here. I'll just highlight some main points.
Unfortunately, for a four-week period during the summer of 2012, he acted in a manner contrary to the entire balance of his life by engaging in sexual activity with a young woman1 with whom he had only recently come to counsel.
It is important to note that up until that four-week period Dr. Schaap had never breached the trust placed in him; and, in that sense, the conduct which currently brings him before this Court is aberrant to the balance of his life. It is also important to note that, at the time he engaged in such conduct, he was simultaneously suffering extreme stress, exhaustion, depression, burn-out, and several other medical maladies.
As described in the presentence report, as a younger man, Dr. Schaap suffered a
three year period of depression. In the months preceding his conduct, Dr. Schaap began to sense that his depression was coming back. Additional stress was brought on by a myriad of factors related to the survival of the church and its schools. For instance, where he had always been able to secure funds to support the church’s services, he began to struggle to secure adequate funding. Due to the decline in funds available for the church’s budget, he was forced to lay-off dedicated workers, causing him further frustration and depression. The lay-offs also necessitated his assuming additional responsibilities, often causing him to work 100 hour weeks with no breaks in his schedule.
Next, the church’s schools began to suffer staffing shortages. In order to maintain the schools, Dr. Schaap assumed additional responsibilities related to the staffing shortages. Likewise, Hyles-Anderson removed an administrator, prompting Dr. Schaap to assume additional responsibilities at the college. Then, just prior to his engaging in his conduct, the person who provided pastoral counseling to the church’s school students and their parents resigned, prompting Dr. Schaap to assume additional counseling responsibilities.
In addition, as described in the presentence report, Dr. Schaap was also being treated by a local urologist and his primary care physician for complications with his prostrate [sic], including chronic and acute prostatitis, as well as near zero lithium levels in his blood.
Likewise, you can read the full sentencing memorandum from the prosecution here:
[...]Many people – if not most people – deal with extreme stress, exhaustion, depression and even burn-out at some point or another in their lives. If the presence of a temporary ailment during the commission of a crime justified leniency at sentencing, there would be no end to the tales of woe presented to this Court. And were the relative “woe” of such tales to be ranked, the government suggests that this Defendant’s tale would linger in the bottom tenth percentile of criminal defendants. Whatever stress Defendant was under as a result of his chosen profession and whatever exhaustion or burn-out supposedly resulted therefrom was all self-inflicted; Defendant was free to step down from his position as megachurch pastor at any time. Similarly, Defendant’s supposed low lithium levels and prostatitis would only be relevant in this case if those ailments were linked, in reputable medical studies, to engaging in criminal behavior of a sexual nature with a minor child. Since no such studies have been submitted by the defense, the Court should disregard those excuses as well.But more importantly, the Court should reject Defendant’s attempt to “explain away” his criminal conduct because his attempt falls flat when considered in the context of the actual evidence collected during the government’s investigation. Defendant chose to “counsel” the victim and, once their sessions began, he chose to meet with her for longer durations and with increasing frequency over time – from a few hours per week in April and May 2012, to semi- weekly in June and then daily or several times a day in July. PSR, para. 31. The FBI’s analysis of Defendant’s phone records revealed that during the 31 days prior to the discovery of his criminal conduct, Defendant and the victim spoke on the phone or texted one another approximately 662 times, with Defendant initiating their first contact of the day on 26 of those 31 days. PSR, para. 37; see also Exhibits 1 and 2 hereto (setting forth call and text activity between Defendant and the victim). Defendant also chose to arrange to have the victim transported to Illinois twice in June and to Michigan once in July so they could spend extended periods of time – up to 36 continuous hours – alone together. PSR, para. 34.On each trip to Illinois, at Defendant’s direction, the victim was dropped off at the forest preserve where Defendant had told his staff he went each Wednesday to “spend time with God walking and praying.” PSR, para. 29. The victim testified that after walking around the forest preserve for a while during her first Wednesday trip, Defendant took her to McDonald’s and then to his home in Crete, Illinois. PSR, para. 32. Law enforcement was able to recover1 from Defendant’s phone photographs taken at his property in Crete which feature Defendant grinning like a Cheshire cat while rubbing cheeks with the victim, and, in another shot, engaging the victim in what one witness described as a “very romantic lip-lock.” PSR, para. 17. If Defendant was suffering from prostate-related pain at the time, it is not evident from the look on his face in the photos. Indeed, rather than spending that time alone with God, Defendant chose to spend it engaging in sexual activity which constitutes Criminal Sexual Assault under Illinois law due to Defendant’s position of trust vis-a-vis the then-16/17 year-old victim. See PSR, paras. 32-33, 35 and 47; 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20(a)(4).Likewise, after having a trusted staff member obtain permission from the victim’s parents to transport her to Michigan for what Defendant had said would be a “girls’ time out,” Defendant arranged to pick the victim up just across the Michigan border and drive her to his cabin in Cadillac, Michigan. PSR, paras. 29, 34. Defendant spent the rest of the first afternoon and evening alone with the victim before returning her to the hotel room shared by the church staff member and her daughter. PSR, para. 34. The next day, Defendant picked the victim up around noon but neglected to return her until the following evening – 36 hours later. Id. When the victim did not return to the hotel room she shared with the staff member and her daughter by 11:27p.m. on the second night of the trip, the staff member texted Defendant saying she was about to send out an amber alert on Facebook. PSR, para. 24. In his response thirty minutes later, Defendant falsely claimed that the victim had fallen asleep on his couch before dinner and that he would take her back to the hotel after she awoke the following morning. Id. Defendant added: “Please trust me. I will go to sleep in my bedroom. Obviously a ‘unique’ situation. If she wakes up I’ll take her Back. Call if u need to. I have marginal service right now.” Id. Defendant did not return the victim to his staff member until approximately 9pm the following evening. Id.Despite his claims to the contrary, the government recovered photos taken inside Defendant’s Michigan cabin which feature a once again grinning Defendant lying with the victim on a couch in an intimate pose and also french-kissing the victim while touching her in a sexual manner. Id. Once again, if Defendant was suffering from prostate-related pain at the time, the pictures show no sign of it. Text messages exchanged by the two on the morning of their second day in Michigan feature Defendant telling the victim “Yesterday was ‘off the charts.’ :))) today...Well even better?! Love you soooo much. See you soon.” PSR, para. 19. While in his Michigan cabin alone with the victim, Defendant engaged in sexual activity which constitutes Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree under Michigan law due to Defendant’s position of trust vis-a-vis the victim. See PSR, paras. 34, 35 and 48; MCLS 750.520d(1)(e).Indeed, even during the church’s annual youth conference, which took place shortly after their return from Michigan in July 2012, Defendant managed to find time each day to spend alone with the victim. PSR, para. 35. Not even the fact that a youth conference was taking place at his church deterred Defendant from repeatedly engaging in sexual activity prohibited by Indiana law with the minor victim while the two were in his office at the church. See id.; PSR, para. 49; Indiana Code 35-42-4-7. The only way Defendant could have been working 100-hour weeks during the time-period investigated by the government is if he’s counting the many hours he dedicated to grooming and sexually abusing the victim.When his staff became concerned that he was spending too much time with the victim, Defendant called a meeting at which he vehemently denied – repeatedly, and directly to their faces – engaging in any inappropriate conduct with the victim. PSR, para. 18, 27. Defendant then tried to “explain away” the victim spending so much time in his church office during the youth conference by telling his entire staff that the victim was on her menstrual period at the time and needed to rest on his office couch. Id. Within a few days of that meeting, the photos of Defendant and the victim in Michigan were discovered by a member of his staff and, once shown to the church’s leadership, precipitated Defendant’s firing and law enforcement’s investigation. PSR, paras. 17-27. Based on these facts, one has to wonder whether, had Defendant’s intimate relationship with the victim not been documented in photographs, texts, cards and letters, he would be admitting its occurrence today.[...]In April of 2012, an e-mail was sent to Defendant from an administrator at the victim’s high school. The purpose of the e-mail was to ask Defendant to counsel the victim, whom the administrator described as “frightened, confused, and emotionally traumatized” and was known to engage in self-destructive behaviors. PSR, para. 15. The e-mail went on to explain that the victim “still has a very tender heart and . . . is still very teachable and moldable.” Id. The writer states that he asked the victim to “allow a few, much wiser people, to take the ‘steering-wheel’ of her life right now and make the right decisions to get her back on track” and the victim responded that she was “willing to trust her leaders.” Id. The government knows Defendant received and read this message because his secretary testified under oath that she remembers printing it out and handing it directly to Defendant. PSR, para. 29. Approximately one week later, Defendant asked his secretary to set-up an appointment so he could start to “counsel” the victim. Id.During the “counseling” sessions that followed, the victim talked openly with Defendant about the troubles she was having – and particularly about her prior romantic relationship with a young man who had refused to give her attention and affection and yet whom she missed dearly – and the unhealthy ways she had been coping with those troubles. PSR, paras. 31-32. In response, Defendant began to fill the void left by the victim’s prior love interest. He spent more and more time with the victim, he complimented her profusely, and he encouraged her to view him as not just her Pastor but also as her friend and, eventually, love-interest as well. By mid- June, the relationship between Defendant and the victim had became sexual. When the victim turned 17 toward the end of June, Defendant gave her a birthday card with a message that read:I can’t get you out of my mind. I keep thinking about how much I enjoy talking with you, how great you look when you smile, and how much I like your laugh. I daydream about you off an on all day, replaying pieces of our conversation . . . laughing again about funny things you said or did. I’ve memorized your face and the way you look at me . . . it melts my heart every time I think about it. And I catch myself smiling when I imagine what will happen the next time we’re together. You must be something really special, because I can’t remember the last time I felt so strongly about someone. Even though neither of us knows what the future holds, I know one thing for sure - you’re one of the very best things that’s happened to me in a long time.PSR, para. 39.Thereafter, Defendant hand-wrote two letters to the victim. The letters illustrate the close friendship and strong romantic feelings that Defendant professed to have for the victim. Scholars – religious and otherwise – could long debate the intended meaning within these writings.
Rather than speculate, the government quotes the text of the correspondence here. The first handwritten letter reads:Hi [Jane Doe],
Because my time with you is so limited, I find great comfort in writing to you. Certainly it is no substitute for being with you - nothing is - in fact, being with you is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
You have a gift of making me feel more alive and more happy than I have ever felt! THANK YOU!
I've been doing much thinking about you - our brief journey together has been like a spiritual allegory (a story that illustrates a truth :) . . . Your life began to deteriorate w/ actions + activities that were self-destructive + that would have brought great tragedy eventually. Then, as your Pastor, I began to counsel you + [unintelligible] you to God, the truth, and to a better path of living - that's what we call Righteousness. Almost immediately, I felt such a profound tug in my heart for you - an intense desire to pull you away from destructive habits + to pull you into pure love + acceptance. I felt the only hope I had to truly make that difference was to pull you 1st to myself - if I could get you to trust me + open your heart to me. I could not have anticipated or hoped for what happened. You opened your heart wide to me - you made me more than a Pastor/Rescuer - you made me your friend your confidant, your beloved. You gave me your trust, your heart, your love, + your affection. [Unintelligible] must feel when a sinner makes Him more than a Savior - he/she makes Him a beloved lover + friend. I have never felt so truly loved in my life. It is a feeling that is incomprehensible! (off the charts)
In our "fantasy talk," you have affectionately spoken of being "my wife." That is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!
I tried to craftily catch your heart so that I could lead you into a better life. You have caught my heart + I have never felt so loved by anyone! Thank you [Jane Doe]. Thank you for the privilege of helping a struggling teenager. Thank you for opening your heart. Thank you for your trust. Thank you for your love.
My hope and prayer is that someday you will comprehend what an impact you have made on your Pastor and friend.
[Jane Doe] you have such a wonderful life ahead of you. I must be careful not to spoil that with any of my selfish fantasy desires. It would be grossly unkind to you for me to hold you captive in any fashion.
When we get scared, Jesus sends His spirit to live within us. But He does not personally live with us. He waits until we have fully matured before he takes us to Heaven to live with Him.
Yes, there are exceptions, but they are exceedingly so - sorta like [name redacted] (sp?) or a young child dying too young.
I must follow the example of Christ. I have espoused you to Him as a chaste virgin. You are pure + lovely + perfect in His eyes. Now you must mature in His grace until the time he brings you to Himself.
Until then, I am here to guide you + help you. [Unintelligible] your heart. I could only wish you would carry my love for you with you + in you forever. For me to wish for more would only be hurtful to the beautiful life He has planned for you.
I will die 10,000 deaths knowing I cannot have you in my life as I would desire. But I would far rather die those deaths than to hurt you in any way by injuring your future.
I would gladly do anything for you + I must lay down my life - my desires - for you.
I will ALWAYS be here for you [Jane Doe]!! Always And I will carry you in my very soul as a part of me forever. I 've never met anyone like you. Please keep on becoming what you are becoming now. I've tried to point you in the right direction. PLEEEAASSE don't ever go back to what you were when we found each other. That would put my soul in Hell!
I promised you I would do anything to help you - and I have shown you what I mean by that. I still promise you I would do anything TO HELP YOU but I cannot do anything that would hurt you!
Text me from time to time- stop by to see me when you can + let me be a part of your life + decision-making. But live your life - the life God has for you. Be 17 + enjoy this great stage of life. I'll always be watching + always be pulling for you. I will always love you - FOREVER! Your BFF, Pastor.PSR, para. 41.The second handwritten letter has a note at the top which says “Thought you would enjoy having my Bible Art from our Bible Study! LOL” and reads:Hey Baby,
Hope you slept well. I'm sitting at my table reading the Words that help me through powerful emotions that are surging through me. I miss my Bible Reading partner. It was fun to have our Bible Study yesterday morning. I Have my good music on - "I will trust in You" + the "Power of the Cross." Good music drives me to the Scriptures to find the strength to go forward when my emotions want me to "freeze" time + go back to yesterday. No matter how glorious the past, the future is the only direction we can go without dying inside.
The past 3 days w/ you were beyond my imagination :! But what I hope you take from this wk. is more than the "magic" we enjoyed but also some better understanding of how incredibly important + special + awesome you are to Jesus! I wanted you to feel + know how much He loves you! I wanted to let some of the hurt + headache - the bad hurt - out of your heart.
This week, [Jane Doe], I tried to climb into your heart and write the graffiti of the Gospel on the walls. I wanted to spray paint in Neon colors that you are Priceless + Precious + are "off the charts" important - yes - to me personally - but especially to OUR Savior Jesus Christ. I'm reading my Bible now to draw a little closer to God - even if it's a millimeter closer - because if we both get a little closer to Him, we also get closer + stronger + deeper w/ each other. Every relationship not built around that truth eventually must die - that's what happened w/ you + J. And that's why afterwards you pursued "dead" things + "dead" relationships. My passion this week was to show you a living relationship + how to keep it alive!
[Jane Doe], however, whenever God takes our love, we never have to [unintelligible] to each other. Keep pursuing Good and we keep living because He is Life!!
I have a special gift for you that I want to give you Sunday if you would stop by my office when you arrive. Also, I really want you to download the App Olive Tree Bible Reader when you get it, I'll teach you how to use it.
These days w/ you are tattooed on my heart + in my mind - Forever! But these days, also gave me great insight to the profound needs of my teens + young adults. You've helped me. Finally, I want to thank YOU for giving me something I was not planning to receive.
Through you, I have felt very loved by God. I gave Him my heart when I was 5, I gave Him my life when I was 17. And yes I love Him + know Him + understand much about Him, but, sometimes I just need to "feel" His love in a way that only He can provide . . . and this week, through you, I have "felt" His love. I absolutely cannot thank you enough!! It is obvious to me that God must trust you very much. He gave you the work of caring or ministering to His servant - just as the angel ministered to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemine. Of course, you have been given enormous responsibility. The Scriptures do not tell us what the Angel said, how he arrived or how he left + apparently no one knows to this day - 2000 years later - what happened. That's a very wise Angel! And so are you, Baby! 1432444!!!!!4PSR, paras. 42-43.The government submits that any 16 to 17 year-old girl placed in the victim’s vulnerableshoes and showered with attention and affection from Defendant – whom she had practically been taught to worship – would have ended up in exactly the same position as the victim in this case: in love with Defendant, the ultimate hypocrite.
There you have it, folks. Such a nice guy, isn't he? You know, one does not just accidentally stumble into such perversion because of an overly full schedule and a troubled prostate or low lithium levels.
We should expect to get a letter of apology, rather than a petition for leniency, from those 141 dedicated family members and followers of his, as well as from everyone involved in the making or promotion of his perverted book "Marriage: Divine Intimacy" - clearly, those were the fantasies he lived out with the victim.
What's the point of this post? Keep your children safe from predators like him at church and elsewhere. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck - it's probably a duck!