January 26th, 2009
04:36 PM ET

New allegations in church scandal

Eric Marrapodi and Jim Spellman

A prominent evangelical pastor who was fired amid allegations that he used drugs and patronized a male prostitute in 2006 is embroiled in a fresh controversy involving allegations of a second inappropriate relationship.

The Rev. Ted Haggard had a sexual relationship with a second man - a 20-year-old volunteer at his megachurch - and the church agreed to pay the man in exchange for his pledges not to talk publicly about the relationship, the Rev. Brady Boyd told CNN on Monday.

The young man's lawyer and the church's insurance company negotiated a settlement that provided the man money to pay his college tuition, moving expenses and counseling, Boyd said.

"This was compassionate assistance. It was to help him move forward, not a settlement to keep him quiet," said Boyd, senior pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Haggard founded New Life in his basement in 1984 and oversaw its growth to an influential megachurch with roughly 15,000 members.

Haggard is the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a group that says it represents millions of people in 45,000 church congregations nationwide. He and other evangelical leaders participated in weekly conference calls with senior White House aides during the Bush administration.

In November 2006, allegations surfaced that Haggard had a three-year relationship with Mike Jones, a male escort, involving drugs and sex for money.

After those allegations became public, New Life fired Haggard and he resigned as president of the national organization.

Now new allegations have opened old wounds.

On Friday, New Life Church announced in a letter to the congregation that Haggard had another inappropriate sexual relationship with a 20-year-old volunteer at the church.

In the last three weeks, Boyd said, the young man told him that he was considering going public with his story because Ted Haggard was portraying himself as a victim in an upcoming HBO documentary called "The Trial of Ted Haggard," which is scheduled to air Thursday.

"I counseled him it wasn't going to help him or the church's healing. Plus it was in violation of the agreement we signed with them," Boyd said.

An interview with the former volunteer is scheduled to air Monday evening on KRDO-TV of Colorado Springs, Colo. Haggard is scheduled to appear on CNN's Larry King Live on Thursday night.

Controversy involving Haggard erupted in November 2006, when a former prostitute, Jones, said the pastor had paid him for sex over three years and had used methamphetamine in his presence. Haggard admitted in interviews that he received a massage from Jones but denied having sex with him. He also said he bought methamphetamine, but threw it away instead of using it.

The assertions received widespread news coverage and sparked charges of hypocrisy, particularly because Haggard had condemned homosexual sex in a documentary called "Friends of God."

In a settlement with New Life, the church and Haggard agreed that he would retain his six -figure salary for a year, leave the Colorado Springs area, receive counseling, and not speak publicly about what had happened for one year, according to a church staff member with knowledge of the settlement but who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Jones told CNN on Monday that he has spoken with the former church volunteer who apparently also had a relationship with the former pastor.

"My anger is so much at the church," he said. "They tried to keep this quiet when all along I've taken a beating feeling like I was the only one when clearly there were others."

Despite the fresh scandal, Boyd said he is hopeful for the future.

"We've added 1,500 people in the last 18 months," he said. "We're trying

to adopt 100 orphans into families in the church.

"We had a leader with flawed character and we're trying to clean up from

the residue of the past. This will not always define us I can promise you that

in the days ahead, we won't be identified with scandal but helping the widows

and orphans."

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. M.Flores

    My heart goes out to Haggard. I completely understand what he is going through. He that is without sin may cast the first stone. There is no one on this planet that is justified and without sin. Read the bible. Many children who are molested have homosexual tendencies. Unless you have been molested and have homosexual tendencies can you understand. I also have the same sex attraction and I also have turned to the Lord and with his help I also can repress it and not act on it. If you truly believe in Jesus Christ like the evanglist say they do, then shame on them.

    January 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  2. Jim,California

    Have you not read that "Judgement begins in the House of the Lord" ?
    we have seen Church Scandles for 20 years, Our Nation's economy is
    going in one direction- down "Consider Your ways, you sowed much & reaped little "

    January 26, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  3. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    Does this come as any surprise from a church that operates through fear and manipulation? Haggard, in an attempt to oppress who he was to appease the blind masses, turned his back on gay individuals, selfishly indulged his own desires, and attempted an embarrassing "rehab" for his sexuality to appease the ever-judging Evangelical base. The church lived up to its reputation by attempting a cover-up. To put it biblically, their sin found them out.

    In the end, Haggard lost everything. Hate and fear will always lead to loss.

    January 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm |