Evangelist Ted Haggard has admitted that he bought crystal-meth and received a massage from the gay prostitute who claims that the outspoken gay-marriage opponent was his sex client for the past three years.
Reverend Ted Haggard, Senior Pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado, resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals last week and stepped down as leader of his Colorado mega-church while the two groups investigate the allegations.
Talking to reporters outside his house, the 50-year-old denied the sex allegations but said he did buy meth from the man because he was curious, reports the Associated Press.
“I bought it for myself but never used it,” he told the AP.
Mr Haggard’s tortuous explanation came two days after the male escort, Mike Jones, stepped forward to allege that Haggard was a monthly client for the last three years.
On Thursday, Haggard had resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and stepped down as pastor of his 14,000-member Colorado Springs church, pending an investigation of the charges.
According to the New York Times, Mr Jones failed a polygraph test that he had volunteered to take, but the man who administered the test said the results may be skewed because Mr Jones had slept little and was suffering a migraine headache. The escort insists his accusations were true and said he would take another lie detector test.
Members of Mr Haggard’s 14,000-member mega-church were stunned. “It’s political, right before the elections,” Brian Boals, a New Life member for 17 years, told the AP.
Mr Jones told reporters he decided to go public because he was upset when he discovered Haggard and the New Life Church had publicly opposed same-sex marriage.
He said: “It made me angry that here’s someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex.”
The Times reports that he said he advertised on the Internet as a male escort, and was called by a man who identified himself as Art from Kansas City.
He said they met about once a month for a relationship Jones said was purely physical.
Mr Jones told the Times that he discovered Mr Haggard’s true identity about six months ago when he saw the minister on television.
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