The president of the National Association of Evangelicals, who has resigned amid allegations that he had sex with a former self-described male prostitute, has admitted to buying methamphetamines from the man, but denied that he had used the drug or had sex with the man.
"I called him to buy some meth, but I threw it away. I bought it for myself but never used it," the Rev. Ted Haggard said today to a reporter for KUSA who interviewed him as he was leaving his Colorado Springs, Colo., home. "I was tempted, but I never used it."
He said he threw out the drug without using it.
Haggard said he got a massage from the man, 49-year-old Mike Jones, after receiving a recommendation from a Denver hotel, but said he never had sex with him.
Haggard temporarily stepped down as the senior pastor at a 14,000-member megachurch in Colorado Springs, and resigned as the president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals on Thursday after the allegations surfaced.
Time magazine had named him one of the 25 most influential evangelicals, and Haggard has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.
Haggard, a married father of five, denied all the allegations in a television interview on Thursday, but even before his admission today, Ross Parsley, the acting senior pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado, said the evangelical leader had admitted to some wrongdoing.
"I just know that there has been some admission of indiscretion, not admission to all of the material that has been discussed, but there is an admission of some guilt," Parsley told KKTV-TV of Colorado Springs.
Parsley did not give further details.
Haggard may not be a household name, but he is a major figure in evangelicalism in the country, with a direct line to the White House.
His prominence is now threatened by Jones, who says he is a former gay prostitute and alleges that Haggard paid him for sex at regular intervals over a three-year period.
"He goes, 'A fantasy of mine is to have an orgy with about six young college guys ranging from 18 to 22 in age,'" Jones told KHOW-AM radio in Colorado.
"I will tell you it was not emotional. … Just strictly physical," Jones added.
Jones said he only learned of Haggard's true identity four months ago, when he saw him on television.
He said he came forward when he learned Haggard and his church were backing an anti-gay marriage initiative on the ballot Tuesday in Colorado.
"I had to expose the hypocrisy. He is in the position of influence of millions of followers, and he's preaching against gay marriage," Jones said. "But behind everybody's back doing what he's preached against."
Jones also said that Haggard did drugs.
"And he had told me he loved snorting meth before [he] has sex with his wife," Jones said.
Jones played for ABC News two voice-mail messages he says were left for him by Haggard.
He says Haggard used the pseudonym "Art."