Fallen Leaders Gallery 2

Fallen Leaders Gallery 2

2. JIM BAKKER (Christian)

Jim Bakker, a 1980s televangelist, funded his extravagant lifestyle with donation money and committed adultery with his former secretary.

Offense: Jim Bakker, an Assemblies of God minister, hosted a popular 1980s show, "The PTL Club," with his then-wife Tammy Faye. Bakker asked his followers to donate money for charitable projects. Eventually, it was revealed that Bakker was using much of the money to fund his extravagant lifestyle. His message of "remaining faithful to one's spouse and family" was also soiled when news came out that he'd had an affair with Jessica Hahn, his former secretary.

Consequence/Punishment: Bakker was charged with fraud and tax evasion, and sentenced to 45 years in jail. Not long after beginning his prison term, he and Faye were divorced. In prison, Bakker wrote an autobiography, "I Was Wrong," in which he apologized for his crimes and claimed that it wasn't until his incarceration that he read the Bible in its entirety.

Effect on Community: He was paroled after serving five years of his sentence. Many of Bakker's former fans turned to Pat Robertson, who took over "The PTL Club" when Bakker went to prison. Several tried to bring a class action suit to get back money they had donated, but the suit was thrown out.


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