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The church volunteer who came forward to tell a Colorado Springs TV station about his hidden sexual relationship with disgraced former pastor Ted Haggard says Haggard tried to take advantage of him with drugs and sex while on a trip.The volunteer, who identified himself as Grant, said he first met Haggard in 2005 after being kicked out of the Moody Bible Institute for his struggles with his homosexuality.Grant said he told Haggard he was gay when they met."It seemed at that moment, his eyes lit up and his whole attitude toward me changed," Grant told KRDO.Grant said he felt accepted by New Life Church and would find a place there to heal and possibly become a pastor himself."I was like this must be God. Why would this big guy, this big evangelical leader be taking such an interest in me?" Grant said.The answer would come in 2006 when Grant, 22 years old at the time, went on a trip to Cripple Creek with Haggard.During the trip, Grant said Haggard asked if they were going to be "godly or bad that night.""Pretty much we were going to hang out and be friends that night or was I going to buy him porn and masturbate with him and taken meth with him and let him show me all the things he likes to do when he travels," Grant said."I told him that night, I just wanted you to be my pastor and my friend," Grant said.Grant said Haggard exposed himself in their hotel room. "He was like do you mind if I masturbate?" Grant said. "I told him that I didn't want that."When asked by KRDO reporter Tak Landrock, "He did that with you in bed?" Grant said, "I couldn't move this really was happening." Church, Pastor Tried To Hide Affair
Grant said he was fearful to tell anyone about the night in Cripple Creek."Who's going to believe me? I'm just a 22-year-old kid," Grant said. "He kind of made me have a guilt trip about it, so I wouldn't say anything."Grant fell into isolation, drinking heavily and began taking prescription drugs. He said he even tried to commit suicide -- four times."All I wanted to do is die," Grant said. "This is not why I came to Colorado Springs."A few months after the incident in Cripple Creek, Mike Jones, a gay escort, came forward and claimed he had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.Around the same time, Grant contacted church leaders and told them about his experience. Grant said he deleted text messages between himself and Haggard, which would have detailed gay sexual experiences Haggard was having on the road and his illegal drug use.
Grant deleted the text messages to protect Haggard, according to an audio recording of a phone call between himself and Haggard in July 2007."I deleted them for you because I didn't want your daughter to see," Grant said on the recording. "I didn't want your family to see them. I didn't want your wife to see them.""So you deleted all those messages?" Haggard said."Yes," Grant said."Wow! And you didn't save them in any other form?" Haggard replied."Yeah, I didn't save them. I don't have them saved in my computer," Grant said.In one part of the call, Haggard admits what he did with Grant was wrong and tries several times to get him to drop his pending lawsuit."It's better to forgive," Haggard said. "Let it go. Forgive the people who've wronged you. I wronged you. Forgive me."But Grant said he couldn't forgive, especially when the church backed out of a promise to pay his medical bills for counseling."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 church," Grant said. "To make these promises to do whatever they could to help. But their main focus was to cover it up."Grant said he never went through with the lawsuit, taking an $180,000 settlement from the church instead.New Life Church Pastor Brady Boyd said that under a legal settlement the church reached with Grant in 2007, neither side was to discuss the matter publicly. Boyd called the payment "financial assistance," to help pay for counseling and medical bills. He said the money came from insurance, not member contributions.Speaking to church members on Sunday, Boyd would only say that an "overwhelming pool of evidence" pointed to an "inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship" involving the volunteer that "went on for a long period of time.""It wasn't a one-time act," Boyd said.In speaking to KRDO, Grant is violating the terms of the confidentiality agreement and could face a lawsuit himself. But he feels a responsibility to share his story."They think Ted Haggard is not a harm to the community, and I really think they're wrong, they're dead wrong," Grant said reflecting on the whole affair."Unless people come out and speak about what happened there, this man could do this again."
Church, Again, In Damage Control
Monday Haggard released a statement admitting that he met with Grant two years ago, along with his wife and a representative of New Life Church. At that time, he asked for Grant's forgiveness for "our inappropriate relationship."His statement said, "Although there was no physical contact, I have regretted my irresponsibile (sic) behavior." Longtime church member Doug Prensner said he worries some people outside the church have been told the male counselor was paid hush money. That's not the case, he said, citing what church leaders have told the congregation. "This was compassionate care, assistance money to help him heal and get on with his life," Prensner said. New Life members and leaders said the latest public disclosures were no surprise. In early 2007, the church disclosed that an investigation uncovered new evidence that Haggard engaged in "sordid conversation" and "improper relationships" -- but didn't go into detail. One church board member had said there was no evidence that Haggard had sexual relations with anyone but Mike Jones, the former male prostitute. "I don't think the people in the church are surprised," said Wanda Moore, who works in pastoral care for women at New Life. "They're disappointed and they're hurt." Jessica Sheasby, an associate child pastor for New Life, said church members she has spoken to have been hopeful since the new disclosures. "I've actually heard a lot of hope, because they know that Pastor Brady is one that protects us and takes care of us," she said.