Jessica Hahn, woman at center of televangelist’s fall 30 years ago, confronts her past

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BRANSON MO NEWS: It’s been three decades since the world found out about the 15 minutes she spent in a Florida hotel room with televangelist Jim Bakker. But Jessica Hahn says it’s only been in the last two years that she’s finally confronted her anger about what happened, and how it’s affected the rest of her life.

She says she’s angry at Bakker, founder of the onetime PTL empire near Charlotte, for using his power and his image as a man of God to manipulate her, then a 21-year-old church secretary, into having sex.

“He just believed that everybody should serve him because he was serving God,” she said of Bakker.

She’s also angry at herself for being in the hotel room. And for reacting to this experience and the sudden media glare by making “maybe not the best choices” over the years that followed – including posing nude three times in Playboy.

Jessica Hahn and her dog Missy in her apartment in West Babylon, N.Y. in May 1987, at a private photo shoot with the Observer. At the time, she was the focus of constant media attention because of revelations about her sexual encounter with televangelist Jim Bakker of PTL.
Diedra Laird Observer file photo

Such choices, Hahn said, turned her into “pretty much a cartoon character.”

“There are nights now that I get up (at 3 a.m.), and I’m sweating,” she recently told the Observer. “I never had that before. I thought I was sliding through. I thought, ‘My life is fine. I didn’t get injured by this. Nothing affected me. I went off and posed in Playboy … I did this and I did that. I made it work.’ But no! I wake up now and go, ‘Oh my God, I’m so angry.’ ”

Hahn …


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