Hammond Megachurch Pastor Pleads Guilty, Says "I Was Not Aware Of The Law"

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 27, 2012 3:15PM

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Former First Baptist Church of Hammond Pastor Jack Schaap
Jack Schaap, the former pastor of the supersized First Baptist Church of Hammond, Ind., formally pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to having sex with a 16-year-old female member of his congregation. But his statement to U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano left a lot to be desired.

Schaap acknowledged to the court that what he did "was a sin. It was wrong." While that may absolve him if he wants to get into Heaven, here in the Kingdom of Man we render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Schaap told Lozano he had no idea having someone drive the girl to Illinois and Michigan in order to have sex with her was against the law.

We understand Schaap, based on his sermons, often has sex on the brain. Hopefully Schaap will find the time (if he hasn’t already) to familiarize himself with Section 2421 and 2423(a) of the Federal Law on the Prostitution of Children.

Section 2421 and 2423(a) make it a crime to transport an adult or a minor across state lines for the purpose of prostitution or any other illegal sexual activity. Unlike 18 U.S.C. ยง 1591, both of those statutes do require proof that the victim crossed a state line. If a minor is transported across state lines, the penalty is not less than 10 years in prison, up to life.

Prosecutors told Lozano they have ample evidence of Schaap with the victim, including text messages and cellphone photos, had the case gone to trial.

Schaap’s transgressions were so bad he could have been prosecuted even if hadn’t had the victim carried across state lines. The legal age of consent in Indiana is 16. The age of consent rises to 18 under IC35-42-4-7 “if the actor is an adult who is the guardian, adoptive parent, adoptive grandparent, custodian, or stepparent of the minor; or a child care worker for the minor; or a military recruiter who is attempting to enlist over the minor.”

The victim was a student at Hammond Baptist Schools. Schaap was the superintendent of Hammond Baptist Schools.

Checkmate.

Lozano deferred accepting Schaap's plea until his Jan. 15, 2013, sentencing hearing.