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Haggard Accuser Says Haggard Encouraged Sex, Drug Use

Jim Burroway

January 27th, 2009

Last night, Colorado Springs’ KRDO aired their long-promised report on Grant Haas, a former New Life Church volunteer who came forward with more allegations about then-pastor Ted Haggard.

Grant joined New Life Church after having been kicked out of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for revealing his sexual orientation to the Dean of Students. He told the dean that he was “struggling” and asked for help. The Dean told him they wouldn’t be able to help him, but suggested he go to Colorado Springs. Hass was only a semester away from getting a Bachelors degree in Pastoral Theology.

Four months after arriving in Colorado Springs and becoming a part of New Life Church, Ted Haggard asked him “What’s your story and what are you doing here?” Haas explained his situation, and he said Haggard’s eyes lit up and his whole demeanor changed toward him from then on.

In the KRDO video report, Grant does not confirm that any direct sexual contact took place bewteen himself and Haggard. Instead, in the accompanying article, Grant describes an incident when the two went on a trip to Cripple Creek:

“He asked me if we were going to be godly or bad that night,” Grant says, recalling their trip. The former volunteer says that meant either hanging out as friends, or buying Haggard porn and masturbate. I told him that I didn’t want that,” says Grant.

After a day in the small mountain town, both went back to Haggard’s hotel room. Grant says he just wanted Haggard to be his pastor and friend, but according to the young man, as they were lying in bed Haggard asked if he could masturbate. Grant told him no, but says Haggard did it anyway. “I couldn’t move,” says Grant. Grant was fearful to say anything to anyone. “He kind of made me have a guilt trip about it, so I wouldn’t say anything about it,” Grant remembers.

According to the video report, “after that life-changing night at Cripple Creek, Grant says he fell back into isolation, drinking heavily and taking prescription drugs. He says he even tried to commit suicide four separate times.”

Meanwhile over the next several months, Haas and Haggard exchanged between 1,000 to 2,000 text messages a month, many of them concerning sex and drug use. “It was like he had two personalities, it was like here is this 50-year-old pastor who is the ultimate man of God and then, this 16-year old horny boy who couldn’t keep himself together,” Grant said.

New Life Church agreed to pay Haas $180,000 for counseling and other expenses, with a stipulation that neither party talk about what transpired between Haas and Haggard. But Grant says that despite the agreement, the church continually neglected to pay his medical bills.

“I really felt the church staff did what they could to get me to move to a different city, to get me to stop going to the church, to make these promises to do whatever they could to help, but their main focus was to cover it up,” says Grant. “They think Ted Haggard is not a harm to this community and I really think they’re wrong, they’re dead wrong.”

The KRDO video report also contains excerpts from taped telephone conversations between Haas and Haggard, in which Haggard acknowledged and apologized for his inappropriate behavior and thanked Grant for deleting the text messages.

Here is the full KRDO video report:

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L. Junius Brutus
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Haggard endangered his job and family for *that* guy?

Piper
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

hey! That is really not cool. Just because you don’t find the guy attractive doesn’t mean that others don’t.
If he were straight, I’d have a crush.

PSUdain
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

You chose your moniker pretty well, Brutus. I’d have some choice words for you right now, but there’s that comments policy.

Just because he’s not your definition of cute doesn’t mean anything. I’m no “gay-boi” stereotype, either; in fact I think he and I share more than a few characteristics, physically.

And there are plenty of people who find me attractive, not in spite, but BECAUSE of who I am.

If you can’t wrap your worldview around that, well, perhaps you could go be brutish elsewhere.

(Oh, and for the record, Piper, I, too think that he’s a cute fellow.)

Emily K
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

I think he’s cute! Jeez, why is it when somebody doesn’t look a stereotypical pretty-boy (eg Brad Pitt) he’s not attractive? But I’m a lesbian, what do I know? And besides, gay culture still has a place for him in at least one way- he could be called a “cub.”

I think it’s shameful that the Moody Bible Institute kicked him out. In the conservative Christian world, in their terms, he was only asking for help and they “should” have only asked him to go to some Exodus affiliate. But they threw him out. (in the regular world, I would want them to completely accept him and for him to accept himself.) But they didn’t even do theformer.

TJ McFisty
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Of course it was okay when it was well-built Mike Jones, but ewww, when it’s *that* guy. I’d take *that* guy over the bodybuilder any day–and I’m a bodybuilder.

Norm!
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

(Wow, this thread quickly devolved into ‘hot-or-not?’) Ain’t nothing wrong with Haas.

Ick. In the KRDO article, New Life’s Boyd strived to assure his megachurch contributers that Haas’ hush money was being paid by insurance – not their tithes. However, if the money is paid by insurance, why isn’t the church paying as agreed?

Admittedly, I don’t know much about insurance settlements, but why would the settlement have to be paid in installments and isn’t the supposed insurance company concerned about futher legal exposure from Haas by not paying as agreed? Boyd says the church will not request Haas return any funds for speaking out, but he does’t say if the church, er, insurance company will fulfill its agreement.

Timothy Kincaid
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

I would not be inclined to see Haas today as a particularly alluring sexual temptation, one for which I would be willing to sacrifice a position of authority such as the one Haggard held.

But within the KRDO video we see another Grant Haas, one that seemed to be in better physical health and who had a more hopeful expression in his eyes. One which I think most folks could agree fit society’s general consensus about attractiveness.

And perhaps that is the most infuriating part of this new development. Grant Haas’ emotional health took a hit by all of this and he reported turning to alcohol and drugs. It seems he may have also turned to food and to a loss of self-worth.

I hope Haas has – or finds – happiness. But it seems to me that Haggard has far worse sins on his conscience than sexual indiscretions or even dishonesty. He has harmed the well being of others.

kevin
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Haggard is just gross.

That said, it does seem as though Grant is going through a very emotionally confusing time. His first mistake was looking to the evangelical community for support. His second mistake is getting caught up in drugs and alcohol.

I hope he gets the help he needs. Move to SF, girlfriend, and get into a good mainline church, go back to school, and stay away from Crystal.

kevin
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

“Wow, this thread quickly devolved into hot-or-not?”

Definitely hot. If I wasn’t attached, I’d snatch him up in a New York minute.

Grant: you are gorgeous! Get out of that hell-hole you’re in and move to Boulder, Denver, LA, SF, Portland, Seattle….meet some hot guys and get yourself a boyfriend you can go to church with.

It will change your life.

God loves you as your fabulous, gorgeous, gay self! Don’t forget it!

Jonathan Justice
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

What we find hot or not is not the relevant question. While the relevant taste would seem to have been Mr. Haggard’s, the question is whether what he did was an abusive part of a pattern of abuse. It was. While Mr. Jones did get some compensation out of it, and avoided the worst of the side effects to his virtue (Latin for “manliness” after all), the two cases mark out a pretty serious trend where a guy with money and cultural clout marshalled those resources to very privately get his way with men who subsequently experienced fierce criticism about their standing to publicly call Mr. Haggard to account for his hypocrisy.

The abuse is against the underlying standard of essential equality, and that may be the issue that sends so many people into fits over the question of the very existence of homosexual persons who enjoy both the hold on sanity the Evelyn Hooker demonstrated and the genuine engagement with ethical issues that Mike Jones did. If some kind of essential interpersonal equality exists, then hierarchical social systems are problematical, especially if they regularly lead to the kind of abuses we are discussing here. What scares the devotees of such systems is that they fear equality itself. Preferring to see social life as a war in which they only get what they want by affiliating with powerful men (and maybe Margaret Thatcher once in a while) to take it away from people whom they identify as so entirely less deserving that they should convert to their particular system and advertise their low rank, or just go away and die (with or without help).

To such persons, the idea that the rest of us might actually be working together to create a society in which we freely go home at the end of the day to our own versions of those biblical vine and fig tree packages (instead of using the rhetoric to operate a competing hierarchical system) is the biggest threat of all because it rejects their claims to power over us.

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