Former Colorado megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, who fell from grace in 2006 after a gay sex-and-drug scandal, is now facing some of the same allegations at another church.
Haggard, 66, is being accused of using methamphetamine and behaving inappropriately with young men at St. James Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a church he founded in 2010, The Denver Gazette reported.
A onetime president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Haggard resigned from New Life Church in Colorado Springs in the wake of a scandal involving a Denver male prostitute. Haggard admitted at the time that he bought methamphetamine and paid the prostitute for massages. Later, it also emerged he’d had an inappropriate relationship with a young man at the megachurch he founded.
Haggard went through a “spiritual restoration” process, and his wife, Gayle, wrote a book about the experience, called “Why I Stayed.” (New Life Church continues under the leadership of Brady Boyd.)
The most recent allegations were made by Kirk “Seth” Sethman, who was ordained as a minister by St. James Church in 2012. Sethman recorded the statements of two young adult men who said Haggard touched them inappropriately on several occasions at the church. One of them was a minor at the time the touching began in 2019.
Sethman said he first approached church elders with allegations about Haggard in 2020.
St. James has declined in membership in recent years and earlier this year sold its building. Haggard is still head pastor but has moved the church’s services and study sessions to his home and is now calling his new congregation the Storyhouse Church.
Haggard was first ordained as a Southern Baptist but is now part of the Free Methodist Church. His new church does not appear to be affiliated with the denomination.
In 2016, Haggard helped found the Network of Redemptive Churches. In a sermon, he explained the group would “train church boards and church leadership in how to respond redemptively to the worst possible day, so that someone else’s sin is an opportunity to model the gospel, instead of someone else’s sin being a point of shame.”
Haggard is one in a long line of powerful evangelical leaders accused of sexual misconduct. Recently, those have included Bill Hybels, formerly of Willow Creek Community Church; Carl Lentz, formerly of Hillsong NYC, the Manhattan branch of the global megachurch; and the late Ravi Zacharias, who founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
Haggard could not be reached for comment.
SOURCE: Religion News Service, Yonat Shimron