Jim Bakker

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James Orson "Jim" Bakker (born January 2, 1940)[1] is an American televangelist, former Assemblies of God minister and former host of The PTL Club. PTL stood for "Praise the Lord".

Bakker is known for building the Heritage USA in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The Heritage USA was an amusement park which opened in 1978. It closed in 1989.

Criminal charges were made against Bakker when The PTL Club's fundraising activities between 1984 and 1987 were reported by The Charlotte Observer.[2] Bakker and his PTL associates sold $1,000 "lifetime memberships". That gave buyers a chance to an annual three-night-stay at a luxury hotel at the Heritage USA.[3]

Jessica Hahn, a former model said Bakker and pastor John Wesley Fletcher had raped her. A $279,000 payoff was made for Hahn's silence. The payoff was made with PTL funds by Bakker's associate Roe Messner.[4]

Bakker was indicted in 1988 on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.[4] In 1989 he was found guilty on all 24 counts. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison. He was paroled in July 1994.

Bakker was born in Muskegon, Michigan.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Power, Glory and Politics". Time. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  2. "How a Sexual Assault Scandal Led to the Uncovering of a $158 Million Crime". PopCultureCom. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  3. "For Jim and Tammy Bakker, Excess Wiped Out a Rapid Climb to Success". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Jim Bakker's Crumbling World". Time. Retrieved December 21, 2018.