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Married Megachurch Pastor Fired After Admitting to Sex With 16-Year-Old Church Member

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"...a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor."

Churches are far from immune when it comes to scandal. This is the sad reality that has hit First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana, where Dr. Jack Schaap, 54, the pastor there for the past 11 years, is under fire. The allegation being waged against him? That the married pastor and father of two had sex with a 16-year-old female church member.

Now, here's the irony -- Schaap is married to the daughter of the Rev. Jack Hyles. Hyles, who ran the church until his death in 2001, was also accused of being involved in sexual and financial scandals. While he denied the charges waged against him, the church is clearly no stranger to controversy.

As for Schaap's case, it appears a deacon saw a text message on the pastor's phone from the teenager allegedly at the center of the scenario. The image purportedly showed the faith leader and the young girl kissing. During a Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday evening, church leaders said that Schaap subsequently admitted to having an affair with the young woman.

On Tuesday, the church put out a brief press release entitled, "First Baptist Church Pastor Dismissed." While it failed to go into explicit details, the information presented within corroborated the fact that Schaap is no longer working at the church.

"At this time, we deeply regret the need to announce that First Baptist Church has dismissed our pastor, Dr. Jack Schaap, due to a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor," the release reads. "First Baptist Church is in full cooperation with our local authorities in their investigation of this matter. Our church grieves over the need to take this action and the impact it will have on our people."

The release goes on to ask for prayer for the families and individuals involved and it expresses hope that the situation can "be handled in a Christ honoring manner." The portion of the release that mentions working with "local authorities" does cause one to wonder if a crime was committed.

But it should be noted that, in Indiana, 16 is the legal age of consent for sexual activity -- the lowest of any U.S. state. The church claims that the case was turned over the authorities "for the sake of transparency and honesty," not because a crime had been committed.

"No charges have been filed, but the FBI is said to be investigating allegations that multiple sexual encounters took place with the same girl across state lines," WGNTV.com reports.

According to Trisha Kee, a former church member, the pastor had been counseling the young girl at the time of the affair. While this hasn't been confirmed, the church reports that Schaap and his wife, Cindy, are in seclusion and working on their marital problems.

"I've been in this church my whole life. We trusted that man," said Terry Duff, chairman of the board of deacons. Duff went on to say that the situation was handled and reported the moment that it came to the attention of church leaders.

First Baptist Church of Hammond, a well-known megachurch, is said to have about 15,000 church members.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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