Haggard Admits Buying Meth

ByDAN HARRIS via via logo
November 12, 2008, 7:20 AM

Nov. 3, 2006 — -- 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."

The man on the tape says: "Hi Mike, this is Art. Hey, I was just calling to see if we can get any more. Either a $100 or $200 supply. And I can pick it up really anytime tomorrow, or we can wait until next week sometime. And so, I also wanted to get your address so I can send you some money for inventory. But that's obviously not working, so if you have it go ahead and get what you can. I may buzz up there. I don't know, maybe even later today, but I don't know if your schedule would allow that unless you have some in the house. So, I'll check in with you later today. Thanks bye."

On the other voice mail, the man says:

"Hi Mike, this is Art. Hey, I am here in Denver. Sorry that I missed you. But as I said if you want to go ahead and get the stuff then that would be great. I'll get it sometime next week or the week after or whatever. I will call you though early next week and see what is most convenient to you. Ok, thanks a lot. Bye."

The voice mails played for ABC News did not contain any explicit mention of sex or drugs.

Jones told ABC News that the voice mails reflected Haggard's effort to have Jones buy meth for him.

Jones also told ABC News that he never actually procured drugs for Haggard.

In an interview with NBC affiliate KUSA late Wednesday, Haggard denied ever doing drugs and denied having sex with Jones.

"I have not, I have never had a gay relationship with anybody," Haggard said in the interview.

A day later, though, Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and voluntarily and temporarily stepped down as head of his own church, saying he wanted to allow for an independent investigation.

"I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity," Haggard said in a written statement. "I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date."

Dean Schabner contributed to this report.

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