SAN FRANCISCO — Tammy Faye Bakker says Jessica Hahn "knew exactly what she was doing" when she traveled to Florida in 1980 for the fateful meeting with Jim Bakker that eventually led to the PTL scandal.
Tammy Bakker, who with her husband is battling to regain control of the PTL ministry they left after reports of Jim Bakker's tryst with Hahn broke, had harsh words for the former church secretary in an interview published in Sunday's editions of the San Francisco Examiner.
"That girl knew exactly what she was doing when she went down there," Tammy Bakker said. "Besides, it (the sexual encounter) only lasted 15 minutes . . . and how I know (that) is that Jimmy was late to a telethon. He looked at his watch."
Bakker turned PTL over to the Rev. Jerry Falwell in March after reports surfaced of the tryst with Hahn and PTL's decision to pay her $265,000 for her silence. Bakker has since claimed that he was tricked into leaving.
Hahn, who received a small portion of the money before the incident was revealed in March, has said she was invited to Florida by another evangelist just to meet Bakker and was lured into the sexual encounter in a hotel room.
In the interview, Tammy Bakker also said her husband immediately reported his infidelity to her and expressed remorse.
The Bakkers have been in San Francisco to attend the 80th birthday party of their attorney, Melvin Belli, and to plan legal strategies for regaining control of their religious empire "from the people who stole it from us," she said.
"We will start another ministry," Tammy Bakker said. "We don't have any money, but we have the support of our PTL partners."
Bakker said at the time of her husband's encounter with Hahn, she was unhappy and finding it difficult to accept her husband's 24-hour-a-day job.
"I felt neglected," she said, adding that they separated for three months but then reunited "because I realized that I loved him so much."
Since the scandal broke, she said, "We're closer than ever. I love him with all my heart. He is my best friend. We are lovers. Lovers and friends."