Pastor kicked out of church over gay sex and drugs faces fresh misconduct allegations
An ex-megachurch pastor is facing fresh allegations of sexual misconduct nearly 16 years after he was excommunicated over gay sex and drugs.
At the centre of the scandal is Ted Haggard, who formerly resided over the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He would regularly give sermons against homosexuality and drug use.
He left the church, admitting he had bought meth from and had been “masturbated” by a sex worker, and ventured on to make a new congregation. In 2010 Haggard founded Saint James Church saying he had been through “spiritual restoration” according to Religion News Service.
Now Haggard is accused of inappropriate sexual misconduct by two young men, one of whom was a minor at the time of the alleged incident in 2019.
The individuals claim the priest touched them inappropriately on many occasions at the church and off-site.
The younger of the pair described encounters as “predatorial and very strange” to authorities on tape, as reported by LGBTQNation.
“Sometimes when he touches me, it feels very predatorial and very strange. He’ll touch me on my pecs or my back or hug me in a way that I’m sliding up his hip or the side of his thigh or his bum. You can kind of tell it’s weird.
“There’s a lot of highly suspicious things that he does, and you’re like, ‘That doesn’t seem or feel normal’.”
The second man corroborated the alleged behaviour, as reported in LGBTQNation.
Saint James Church elders were played the tapes in 2020 by reverend Kirk Sethman, who also gave them a letter demanding Haggard’s resignation.
“People are scared and worried and don’t want to be connected to him anymore,” Sethman told LGBTQNation.
It’s also alleged that Haggard asked a recovering drug addict to buy him meth in 2012.
Haggard has moved on from Saint James, having sold the church building in April and moving services and bible study to his home.
The priest has formed a new congregation he calls the Storyhouse Church.
According to LGBTQNation Haggard has transformed his house to suit his new church model, including by adding a “youth ministry room”.
There is currently no criminal investigation against Haggard and he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Ted Haggard has been contacted for comment.
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