Secretary in Bakker Incident Says She Wants to Do God’s Will With PM-Evangelists Feud, Bjt
WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) _ Jessica Hahn, the 27-year-old woman whose sexual encounter with a television minister led to his resignation and to upheaval in the evangelical community, says faith has helped her through the ordeal.
Ms. Hahn’s quiet life with her Labrador retriever and a pet parakeet in this Long Island town was disrupted last week when the Rev. Jim Bakker resigned as head of the PTL network after admitting a tryst with her.
″I just want to do whatever God’s will is for my life,″ Ms. Hahn said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. ″All my life, I just wanted to share whatever blessings were placed on me.″
″I have to be strong. I have to constantly lean on God, because he hasn’t failed me yet,″ said the born-again Christian who loves animals and works out on an exercise bike. ″That gives me that peace that maybe is a little unusual,″ she said.
Again Ms. Hahn refused to answer questions about her 1980 Florida motel meeting with Bakker or the money she allegedly received as a result, saying those questions can be answered by her legal adviser, Paul Roper, of Anaheim, Calif.
Roper told the AP Friday that Ms. Hahn believes she was given drugged wine on the night she met Bakker. ″Before long, they were engaged in a sexual incident. ... The next day she went home,″ he said.
Ms. Hahn grew up in the Long Island town of Massapequa, where she lived with her stepfather and mother, Ed and Jessica Moylan, two brothers and a sister. She attended Massapequa High School.
Kim Caroll, who grew up with Ms. Hahn, recalled how she and Ms. Hahn became born-again Christians at age 14. ″I was saved over by the church,″ she said. ″We were in the field and we prayed with somebody and were saved.″
She described Ms. Hahn as ″an intelligent, compassionate and loving person.″
Several years ago, Ms. Hahn moved into an upstairs apartment in a two-story yellow, Cape Cod-style house. Her first-floor neighbor, Barbara Bencivenga, 43, described her as ″a very quiet girl.″
Ms. Bencivenga said they became friends because of their mutual love of pets and recalled an incident in which a dog was struck by a car in the street.
″Jessica gave the dog a sweater to lay on. She just put her hand under the dog’s head and held it up and kept stroking it,″ Ms. Bencivenga said.
″She kept telling the dog, ’Everything’s going to be all right. Please don’t die,‴ she said. The dog lived.
The neatly groomed Ms. Hahn is about 5 feet 7, with long, reddish-brown hair and a slender figure. She said she enjoys riding 20 miles a day on her exercise bike.
Ms. Hahn said that becoming a born-again Christian was like ″coming home.″
″I felt like my life took on a new meaning. I wanted to share that with just about everybody. That’s why I spent so much time with the church trying to do as much as I could. I felt very revived and refreshed and very much loved,″ she said.
Until recently, she worked as a secretary as the Massapequa Tabernacle Church. Her job, she said, involved arranging appointments and ″working with people to make everybody feel comfortable and a part of the ministry.″
Although she was raised a Roman Catholic, she said that as a born-again Christian it was as if ″I could talk to the Lord and share that experience as if I was talking to my best friend. I felt as if God was real.″
″I love the Bible and anything related to it,″ she said.
The last book she read, however, was the life story of Elvis Presley.
″I believe he was his own person and many people wanted to just draw from him and they drained the man.
″I love his gospel music. I think it is better than any gospel music I’ve heard because he sings from the heart,″ she said.
She said she hopes people do not lose faith in churches because of the Bakker controversy.
″God will continue loving them and they must realize this will pass,″ she said. ″We’re not in heaven yet. Life isn’t perfect yet. God is still for them.″