No charges are expected to be filed against Pastor Jack Schaap for his involvement with an underage girl, according to a First Baptist Church of Hammond official, although the church remains resolute in being cooperative with authorities.
A release put out by Lake County Sheriff John Buncich’s office on Wednesday said his office, along with the FBI’s Merrillville office, are continuing the investigation into Schaap for his alleged misconduct with the church member. Church spokesman Eddie Wilson said the girl is 17. The age of consent in Indiana is 16.
“There has been a lot of conjecture regarding the girl in the press,” Wilson said, adding that the girl and her family are church members. He said she isn’t a student at the Schererville-based Hyles-Anderson College, where Schaap was the chancellor until he was relieved of his duties. “We don’t expect charges to be filed against him (with regard to statutory rape).”
A shaken, soft-spoken Deacon Terry Duff, who chairs the church’s Board of Deacons, vowed during a news conference held at the church’s administration building Wednesday that the church is cooperating with all authorities and refuses to cover up any wrongdoing.
“We’re not defending wrong; we’re defending right,” Duff said. “We’re committed to finding the whole truth no matter what the consequences to First Baptist Church.”