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Evangelical Leader Resigns After Sex Allegations
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Evangelical Leader Resigns After Sex Allegations


Evangelical Leader Resigns After Sex Allegations
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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

The president of a leading religious group has resigned. Ted Haggard led the National Association of Evangelicals, and he quit after a male prostitute claimed the two had a three-year sexual relationship. As we're about to hear, Haggard has denied the allegations publicly, but in an e-mail, his church says Haggard has quote "confessed" that some of the accusations against him are true.

NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

JEFF BRADY: Ted Haggard is an important man in conservative Christian circles and in politics. He's known to be one of several Christian leaders who participate in regular conference calls with the White House. Former male prostitute Mike Jones of Denver told radio station KHOW host Peter Boyles that he first met a man who called himself Art three years ago.

(Soundbite of radio broadcast)

Mr. MIKE JONES (Prostitute): We continued seeing each other for about once a month.

Mr. PETER BOYLES (KHOW, Denver): How much did he pay you?

MR. JONES: Generally it was a couple hundred dollars.

Mr. BOYLES: Okay.

Mr. JONES: All right.

Mr. BOYLES: Where did you meet?

Mr. JONES: At my place.

BRADY: Jones says a few months back he saw a religious program on TV featuring Haggard and was surprised to see the man he knew as Art. Jones also claimed Haggard occasionally used methamphetamine before the two had sex. Haggard told Denver television station KUSA that he doesn't know Mike Jones and never used drugs.

Reverend TED HAGGARD (President, National Association of Evangelicals): I've never said that I'm perfect. But I haven't had sex with a man in Denver. And I've been faithful to my wife.

BRADY: Haggard said his church will interview everyone involved.

Rev. HAGGARD: I hope it goes fast, for the sake of my children and for the sake of serving this wonderful church that I've had the privilege to serve. And then I trust that I'll be exonerated.

BRADY: Focus on the Family head James Dobson called the allegations politically motivated. Colorado voters will decide next week whether to amend the state's Constitution to ban gay marriage. Haggard has been an outspoken supporter of the proposal. Mike Jones addressed this charge in the radio interview.

(Soundbite of radio broadcast)

Mr. JONES: People have brought up, is this about politics? You know what? Absolutely it is.

BRADY: While Jones claims to have voicemails of Haggard, he hasn't made them public or shown any hard evidence that the man he knew as Art is Haggard. Meantime, Haggard says he's seeking spiritual advice and counsel while his church completes its investigation.

Jeff Brady, NPR News.

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