By 1986, PTL employed 2,500 individuals world wide and was taking in $129 million in annual income, in line with 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 within the U.S. that yr, behind solely Disneyland and Disney World, and the PTL Community reached 14 million properties. The Bakkers reportedly owned a number of residences, two Rolls Royces, a 55-foot houseboat and a non-public 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 by no means charged with against the law, however he admitted to paying Hahn $265,000 from the church’s funds to remain quiet. An investigation into the ministry’s funds discovered that Jim had additionally been promoting so-called “lifetime memberships” to their Heritage Grand lodge—to extra individuals than there have been rooms—for $1,000 a pop. Furthermore, PTL couldn’t account for $92 million in income.
Already at work launching a brand new TV-driven ministry in Orlando, Fla., Tammy Faye advised a reporter forward of Jim’s trial on fraud expenses, “If our case is tried on fact, we are going to win. I am asking God that everybody will merely inform the reality… I am praying for all the boys who’re mendacity.”
“Not solely is Jim on trial, individuals,” she stated on her present, “however the church we all know is on trial. All the things that has to do with Christian tv is on trial when Jim walks into that courtroom.”
In 1989, Jim, who pleaded not responsible, 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, through which he revealed that, when he was 11, he was molested by a male member of his household’s church, leaving him very confused about his sexuality. In 1998 he married Lori Beth Graham, they’ve 5 kids collectively, and he presides over Morningside ministry in Blue Eye, Mo.