Former Pastor, Ted Haggard Speaks Out On Sex Scandal for First Time; Says ‘I Was Abused As Child’

November 13, 2008 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

ted-haggard-3.jpgDisgraced evangelical pastor Ted Haggard says he was sexually abused as a child and that the experience “started to rage in my mind and in my heart” when he was caught up in a sex scandal involving a male prostitute. Haggard made the remarks in two recent sermons in Morrison, Ill., ABC’s “Good Morning America” reported Wednesday.

Haggard said one of his father’s employees “had a sexual experience
with me” when Haggard was 7, according to audio recordings of the
sermons posted on the ABC News Web site.

Haggard
said he later became “a conservative Republican, loving the word of
God, an evangelical, born-again, spirit-filled, charismatic, all those
things.

“But some of the things that
were buried in the depths of the sea from when I was in the second
grade started to rage in my mind and in my heart,” he said.

In 2006, Haggard was fired as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church
in Colorado Springs when a former male prostitute alleged they had a
cash-for-sex relationship. The man also said he saw Haggard use
methamphetamine. Haggard also stepped down as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

He has said some of the allegations were exaggerated but he has never offered specifics.

Haggard,
who is starting an insurance agency in Colorado Springs, did not
immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press.

Haggard previously had confessed to undisclosed “sexual immorality,” and on the new audio he said: “I really did sin.”

Haggard said his family suffered severely for his actions.

“My
wife — all my sin and shame fell on her. People treated her as if she
had fallen,” he said. “And my children — they all went through carrying
my shame. And I am so sorry that I did that to my family.”

Haggard said he became suicidal but eventually emerged with a stronger Christian faith and marriage than he’d ever had.

Haggard
said church leaders missed an opportunity to use his scandal to
“communicate the gospel worldwide through secular media.”

“We consistently blow it” when those opportunities arise, he said.

“A
congressman in trouble, that’s the time. A family member gets himself
in horrible trouble, that’s the time. A preacher gets himself in awful
trouble, that’s the time,” he said, his voice rising to a near-shout.

Audio of Haggard’s Illinois sermons were posted on http://tedhaggard.com, but the Web site was unavailable late Wednesday, carrying only the message, “Website Is Being Rebuilt.”

Source: AP

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