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Shamed Evangelist Ted Haggard admitted Friday that he bought the dangerous drug methamphetamine (METH) and received a massage from a gay prostitute who claims he was paid for drug-fueled trysts by the outspoken gay-marriage opponent.
Methamphetamine releases high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells, enhancing mood and body movement. In addition to possible physical and psychological damage, meth use often leads to compulsive sexual behaviors that increase the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Evangelist Ted Haggard, 50, resigned Thursday as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and stepped down as leader of his Colorado mega-church while the two groups investigate the allegations.
Talking to reporters outside his house Friday, Haggard denied the sex allegations but said he did buy meth from the man because he was curious.
"I bought it for myself but never used it," he said.
Haggard, a married father of five, said he never had sex with Mike Jones, a 49-year-old male prostitute.
In 2005, Time magazine put Haggard on its list of the 25 most influential evangelical leaders, noting his participation in a weekly conference call with White House staffers and other religious leaders reports AP.
When the claims first broke, Haggard denied them.
"I've never had a gay relationship with anybody. I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife," Haggard told KUSA-TV, a CNN affiliate in Denver, on Wednesday.
The acting senior pastor at New Life, Ross Parsley, countered Haggard saying Haggard acknowledged some of the accusations were true.
"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.
Parlsey did not elaborate, but in an e-mail addressed to congregants, he wrote that the board of overseers had since met with Haggard.
In an explosive interview with Denver radio station KHOW, male prostitute Mike Jones said he had a three-year sexual relationship with Haggard, with the last gay action occurring in August. He also said Haggard used the dangerous drug methamphetamine during their encounters.
Jones said the relationship began when a man identifying himself as "Art" -- who said he was a married man from Kansas City, Missouri -- sought his services. Jones said he advertised at the time as a male prostitute on the Internet and in newspapers serving the gay community.
The two saw each other about once a month, with Art visiting Jones in Denver and paying him $200 in cash "for no more than an hour," Jones said.
"It was not emotional. It was physical, just strictly physical," he said.
Jones provided two voice messages to the local news channel, 9News, claiming they include the voice of Haggard calling him. A voice expert told 9NEWS that the messages left for the male escort matched the voice of Pastor Haggard. Jones claims Art is really Haggard and is referring to methamphetamines in the messages.
August 4, 2006 2:18 pm
August 4, 2006 5:10 pm
Haggard said he did get a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a hotel.
Members of Haggard's 14,000-member mega-church were stunned. "It's political, right before the elections," said Brian Boals, a New Life member for 17 years.
Jones said he decided to go public because he was upset when he discovered Haggard and the New Life Church had publicly opposed same-sex marriage.
He said: "It made me angry that here's someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex."