Highland woman alleges youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Hammond raped her in 1970s: ‘He knew exactly what he was doing’

Chicago Tribune

March 27, 2020

By Alexandra Kukulka


Sitting in her apartment in Highland, Joy Ryder looks back on two years of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of her youth pastor and said it made her reevaluate her relationship with God and religion.

“I never lost my faith in God,” Ryder said. “I’m not about religion, but more of a relationship with Christ.”

Ryder recently filed a lawsuit against the estate of Jack Hyles, his son David Hyles, Hyles-Anderson College and First Baptist Church of Hammond alleging that David Hyles raped, sexually assaulted and sexually abused her and that church leadership covered it up in the late 1970s.

“You aren’t special, he does that with everyone,” Ryder said Jack Hyles, the then-lead pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, told her.

Ryder, then 14, recalled that was Jack Hyles’ response when she approached him to tell him that a senior-ranking member of the church — his son — was abusing her.

“He is probably the most cruel, and cunning person I’ve ever known in my life, and I don’t say that easily,” Ryder, now 57, said of David Hyles. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”

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