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New Life Church leader Ted Haggard was once one of America's most charismatic and powerful evangelical leaders, with an audience of more than 30 million people. Ted began counseling foreign dignitaries and consulting on a weekly basis with President George W. Bush. By 2005, Time magazine named him one of the most influential evangelicals in America.

But no one—not even his devoted wife, five children and his Colorado Springs, Colorado-based congregation—suspected that Ted was paying an admitted male escort for crystal meth. In November 2006, Mike Jones publicly alleged he'd engaged in a three-year sexual relationship with the pastor, which Ted immediately denied. Three days after the scandal broke and after a voice mail featuring Ted asking Mike for drugs was released, Ted's story unraveled. Eventually, Ted admitted to sexual immorality and to buying drugs. He later resigned from the church he helped to found.

In his first television interview since the scandal, Ted talks with Oprah about why he kept secret a part of his life he calls dark and repulsive.

"It was the first time that dark area of my life I'd worked so hard to fight against was coming to the surface," he says. "And to say it, and to talk about it, was so shameful and shocking. Even to me."
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FROM: Evangelist Ted Haggard, His Wife and the Gay Sex Scandal
Published on June 30, 2009

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