Mike Jones, the Denver prostitute and personal trainer who outed former New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard in 2006, wrote an article Saturday for the Daily Beast in which he estimates as many as 15% of his clients in Denver were in some way connected to the church.
During the 1990s, when I worked as an escort in Denver, Colorado, I estimate at least 15 percent of my clientele were clergy or connected with the church in some way. There were one-timers and there were guys who came back again and again and again, and they were all the same: positively giddy when the encounter began, unable to look you in the eye as they left. The excitement that initially animated them was wholly overshadowed by the despondency and guilt that would overcome them as soon as it was over.
I can't imagine the guilt they were feeling. Not only were they having sex with another man--a sin punishable by God, in their minds--but I believe many of them were doing exactly what Father Gray did: stealing from their own churches. Maybe not a million bucks, maybe not even so much that anyone would notice. But more than once I was paid for my services with a handful of crinkled ones and fives. I would think to myself, how could they take from their own church's collection plate? The answer is simple and sad: addicts will do whatever they need to do to support their habit.
In November, 2006, Jones claimed that he and Haggard, who was in a leadership position at the National Council of Evangelicals at the time, carried on a three-year sexual relationship during which the Colorado Springs-based pastor paid Jones for oral sex and admitted to taking crystal meth.
At the time, Jones said he outed Haggard because he wanted to "expose the hypocrisy." Haggard was a vehement opponent of gay marriage.
After a hiatus from the Church, Haggard has returned to Colorado Springs where he has started a new Church. He has made headlines lately with his softened rhetoric on gay rights, saying he would welcome gay members at his church. Last week, Haggard announced his church was moving to a new venue after out-growing the Haggard family's Colorado Springs barn.