By 1986, PTL employed 2,500 people across the globe and was taking in $129 million in annual revenue, primarily based on John Wigger’s The Rise and Fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Evangelical Empire. Their Christian-themed resort, Heritage USA, was the third-most-visited attraction inside the U.S. that 12 months, behind solely Disneyland and Disney World, and the PTL Group reached 14 million homes. The Bakkers reportedly owned numerous residences, two Rolls Royces, a 55-foot houseboat and a private jet.
On March 19, 1987, Jim resigned from PTL after church secretary Jessica Hahn alleged that the pastor had sexually assaulted her in December 1980. Jim insisted the encounter was consensual and he was in no way charged with towards the legislation, nevertheless he admitted to paying Hahn $265,000 from the church’s funds to stay quiet. An investigation into the ministry’s funds found that Jim had moreover been selling so-called “lifetime memberships” to their Heritage Grand lodge—to additional people than there have been rooms—for $1,000 a pop. Moreover, PTL couldn’t account for $92 million in revenue.
Already at work launching a model new TV-driven ministry in Orlando, Fla., Tammy Faye knowledgeable a reporter ahead of Jim’s trial on fraud prices, “If our case is tried on reality, we’ll win. I’m asking God that everyone will merely inform the truth… I’m praying for all of the lads who’re lying.”
“Not solely is Jim on trial, people,” she acknowledged on her current, “nevertheless the church everyone knows is on trial. Each factor that has to do with Christian television is on trial when Jim walks into that courtroom.”
In 1989, Jim, who pleaded not accountable, was convicted of 24 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and sentenced to 45 years in jail. He served 5, his sentence diminished on enchantment, and upon his launch penned the autobiography I Was Unsuitable, throughout which he revealed that, when he was 11, he was molested by a male member of his family’s church, leaving him very confused about his sexuality. In 1998 he married Lori Beth Graham, they’ve 5 children collectively, and he presides over Morningside ministry in Blue Eye, Mo.
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