Pastor Accused Of Sexual Abuse

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Mick Trevey
Katie DeLong
Today's TMJ4 News - Milwaukee

January 3, 2008

WALWORTH COUNTY – He dedicated his life to preaching and helping others.

Now, one Wisconsin pastor is headed to prison. The final chapter in a case that shook a community.

A pastor convicted of sexual assault gets his punishment - but not before facing his victim.

This is a disgusting case. It involves a total abuse of trust. Scott Hoppe was hired to pray with teens. Instead, he preyed on them.

“He is a manipulative, sexual abuser. He would stop at nothing to get what he wanted and no expense was too great,” Victim Michelle Lincoln said.

Michelle Lincoln is the victim in this case. She's okay with us showing you who she is.

She's in college now, but when she was in high school, now 33-year-old Scott Hoppe convinced her to have a sexual relationship with him. It lasted several years.

“He’s slick. The damage that was done to our family is incomprehensible,” Michelle Lincoln’s dad said.

Michelle Lincoln’s family had no idea. In fact, they welcomed Pastor Scott Hoppe into their house. All that time, Hoppe was sexually abusing Michelle.

“He was one of those friends that had our house key. He would take care of our home when we were gone. He would take care of our pets when we were gone. When he would come over, he would knock once and come in. He called me mom,” Kathleen Lincoln, the victim’s mother said.

Because Hoppe was a pastor at Grace Church in Burlington, the victim said she would trust him, especially when he said things like God wanted them to be together.

“I cannot even walk into a church without remembering all the ways Scott Hoppe used religion to fulfill his own sexual desires,” Michelle Lincoln said.

Thursday, Hoppe took responsibility for what he did.

“I am ashamed that I acted in such a selfish and unloving way toward these people,” Scott Hoppe said.

Scott Hoppe will spend three years in prison.

One other thing about Scott Hoppe: he's married with six kids. They're between the ages of two and nine.

Hoppe also faces charges in Racine County. There are a whole list of charges filed against him there.

He’ll go on trial in February.


SNAP Note:  The current pastor of Grace Church in Burlington shows himself as having graduated from Maranatha Baptist Bible College and Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary.

See also:  Former pastor sentenced for sexual relationship with youth-group member, The Journal Times, 4/1/08