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Associated Press
Jack Schaap is out at 15,000-member First Baptist Church of Hammond amid a police investigation.

Hammond megachurch fires pastor amid probe

– An Indiana megachurch fired its pastor Tuesday amid a police investigation into the independent Baptist congregation and a college it operates.

The First Baptist Church of Hammond issued a news release saying Pastor Jack Schaap committed “a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor.” It said church representatives were cooperating with police.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said his department began investigating the church and Hyles Anderson College after talking with high-ranking representatives of the congregation. The congregation has 15,000 members. Its website states that under Schaap, First Baptist moved into a 7,500-seat auditorium, doubled its attendance and sent mission teams to Africa, Thailand and India.

Tuesday’s announcement comes 19 years after the church was rocked by the conviction of a deacon for fondling a 7-year-old girl in a Sunday school class.