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Haggard Says He Bought Meth But Didn't Use It

Also: Admits hiring Jones as masseuse, but says they didn't have sex.

Haggard: "I never kept it very long because it's wrong." (Update: 2:45 p.m.)
Ted Haggard this morning admitted to calling Mike Jones, buying methamphetamine from him, and hiring him for a massage, but continued to deny Jones's claims that he used the drugs or that he paid Jones for sex.

"I did call him. I did call him," Haggard told Denver television station KUSA as he drove out of his house this morning. "I called him to buy some meth but I threw it away. I was buying it for me but I never used it. … I never kept it very long because it's wrong. I was tempted. I bought it, but I never used it."

Jones has claimed that he arranged for Haggard to buy methamphetamine from a third party, and that he saw Haggard use it at least a dozen times to enhance their sexual activity.

Haggard told KUSA that Jones first brought up the drug. The former National Association of Evangleicals president admitted hiring Jones for a massage, but denied having sex.

"I went there for a massage," he said from his vehicle, as his wife and others sat in neighboring seats. He learned of Jones, he said, through "a referral from the hotel I was staying at" in Denver.

"We're so grateful that he failed the polygraph test this morning," Haggard said.

TV station that first named Haggard says "we would not have aired the story" without him (Update: 2:45 p.m.)
Mike Jones first publicly discussed his accusations against Ted Haggard on a morning talk radio program on Denver's KHOW. However, neither Jones nor Haggard were named, with Jones only identifying one of his clients as a nationally known religious leader based in Colorado Springs.

KUSA, the television station that had interviewed Jones about the accusations two months earlier, first named both Jones and Haggard in its 10 p.m. news broadcast, 16 hours after the interview on KHOW's Pete Boyles Show.

In a response to inquiries about why it ran its story, KUSA said that Jones "did not have enough proof for us to do this story" two months ago, but that it reconsidered its decision after the Boyles broadcast. "Because Jones had decided to go public, and it was a matter of time before Pastor Haggard's name came up, we contacted the Pastor and asked him if he knew about the allegations and wanted to respond," says the message, signed by KUSA's reporter on this story and two producers. "He had heard about them and chose to respond and that is why we did the story. To be fair to him, whether he wanted to respond determined whether we would broadcast a story. We would not have aired the story without hearing from Pastor Haggard."

Earlier Updates

New Life Church says Haggard confessed to some indiscretions (Update: 9:30 a.m.)
In an e-mail to staff members of New Life Church, acting senior pastor Ross Parsley says that some of the accusations against Ted Haggard are true.

"The board of overseers has met with Pastor Ted," Parsley wrote. "It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true. He has willingly and humbly submitted to the authority of the board of overseers, and will remain on administrative leave during the course of the investigation."

Parsley also told Colorado Springs television station KKTV, "I don't have any accurate information about the precise details. I just know 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, and that's what we're working with, with outside overseers who are working with Pastor Ted and his family to investigate what's happened here."

The full memo:

Dear New Lifers and friends of New Life Church,
Many of you have expressed concern about today's news regarding our pastor. Thank you all for your prayers and support, and for your concern for our church family.
As you've likely heard by now, Pastor Ted has voluntarily placed himself on administrative leave as New Life's senior pastor to allow our external board of overseers to work effectively. Below is the statement that we released to the media on Thursday afternoon.
Since that time, the board of overseers has met with Pastor Ted. It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true. He has willingly and humbly submitted to the authority of the board of overseers, and will remain on administrative leave during the course of the investigation.
I am serving as the acting senior pastor of New Life Church. I met with the pastoral staff and elders Thursday night, and I assure you that the leadership team is strong and united. We remain resolute in our commitment to serving New Life Church and the people of our community.
Please continue to keep Ted and Gayle and their family in your prayers.
I love serving God with you all,
Ross Parsley

Accuser says accusation was politically motivated (update: 9:30 a.m.)
Mike Jones, the self-described prostitute who says former National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard has been paying him for sex and drugs over the past three years, told The Rocky Mountain News that he was motivated by a desire to expose hypocrisy and to influence Tuesday's election. Colorado voters are considering a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as "a union of one man and one woman." The News's Fernando Quintero writes:

Jones said he had thought about revealing his alleged affair with Haggard months ago but was advised by his attorney that he needed to gather more evidence. He said he decided to come out with his story before the election to influence voters.
"There are two important initiatives," he said, referring to a measure that would grant same-sex couples legal protections afforded to married couples, and another that would define marriage in Colorado as a union between a man and a woman.
"Friends have suffered because of our laws. I felt obligated to get the information out about the hypocrisy of people who make these laws and those who support them.
"It may not change the way people vote, but I feel I did what I had to do. I needed to expose what was happening. You can't say one thing and do another. There are consequences to our actions."

Jones fails lie-detector test (update: 9:30 a.m.)
Mike Jones failed his much-publicized polygraph test this morning. Though it was conducted off the air and off the premises of Peter Boyles's talk show, where Jones's accusations against Haggard were first broadcast, the test was arranged by Boyles's program. Announcing the results on the air, the polygraph administrator said that Jones's results "indicated deception." Specifically, the administrator said, Jones indicated deception in saying yes to two questions: "Did you lie when you said you had a three-year relationship with Ted Haggard?" and "Did you lie when you said you had sexual contact with Ted Haggard?" Jones said he did not lie in his answers, and that he may have failed because he only slept for two hours the previous night. He said he may submit himself to another round of polygraph testing.

Haggard on Sunday: "We pray that lies would be exposed" (update: 9:30 a.m.)
Ted Haggard's Sunday morning sermon last week began with a prayer "that lies would be exposed." In New Life Church's podcast of the October 29 sermon, among Haggard's first words are, "Father, give us grace and mercy. Father, help us this next week and a half as we go into national elections, and Lord we pray for our country. Father, we pray that lies would be exposed. We pray that deception would be exposed. Father, we pray that wisdom would come upon our electorate and that they would think with clarity and with decisiveness, and Lord, that we would be a model for the whole world to see how people can disagree passionately but the rule of law … will prevail."

Related Elsewhere:

This is an update to yesterday's story," Haggard Resigns as NAE President | Pastor also steps aside at New Life Church after allegations by male prostitute."

Local coverage is available from The Denver Post, The Colorado Springs Gazette, Rocky Mountain News, KUSA, and KKTV.

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