Republican Pastor Resigns After Gay Sex Accusations
November 2nd, 2006
Denver, Colorado - Republican Pastor Ted Haggard has resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after a male escort claimed he has been having a sexual relationship with the pastor for the past three years.
A statement from the New Life Church says Pastor Ted Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals Thursday and put himself on leave from his church.
Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The church has 14,000 members.
The statement says Haggard could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations."
Mike Jones, a gay man and admitted male escort, said on talk radio Wednesday he and Haggard had been in a "sexual business" relationship for the past three years.
Jones also says Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence.
Haggard denied the allegations in an exclusive interview with 9NEWS Wednesday night.
The statement from Martin Nussbaum, legal counsel for New Life Church, says Haggard put himself on administrative leave pending an investigation and a decision by the church's board of overseers.
"I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date," said Haggard in the statement.
In the interim the church's associate senior pastor will serve as acting pastor of the church.
Haggard is married with five children and an outspoken critic of gay marriage.
Nussbaum stresses Haggard's decision to resign from the National Association of Evangelicals and go on administrative leave is in no way an admission of guilt.
Nussbaum says the church's bylaws state that when an allegation of immorality is made, a pastor is supposed to go on leave while the rest of the board makes a decision on his future.
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw profiled Haggard in 2005 in a series on mega-churches. Haggard was also listed by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America last year.
Source: © KUSA - Denver