Former Colorado megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, who fell from grace in 2006 after a gay sex-and-drug scandal, is now facing some of the same allegations at another church.
Haggard, 66, is being accused of using methamphetamine and behaving inappropriately with young men at St. James Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a church he founded in 2010, The Denver Gazette reported.
A onetime president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Haggard resigned from New Life Church in Colorado Springs in the wake of a scandal involving a Denver male prostitute. Haggard admitted at the time that he bought methamphetamine and paid the prostitute for massages. Later, it also emerged he’d had an inappropriate relationship with a young man at the megachurch he founded.
Following the initial scandal, several Christian leaders outlined steps and provided personal counsel to help Haggard undergo a “spiritual restoration” process. However, after only 14 months, those leaders reported that Haggard prematurely ended that process of transparent accountability, according to multiple sources.
Haggard’s wife, Gayle, wrote a book about their experience navigating the scandal, titled “Why I Stayed.” New Life Church continues under the leadership of Brady Boyd, a former associate pastor at Gateway Church in the Dallas area.
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The most recent allegations were made by Kirk “Seth” Sethman, who was ordained as a minister by St. James Church in 2012. Sethman recorded the statements of two young adult men who said Haggard touched them inappropriately on several occasions at the church. One of them was a minor at the time the touching began in 2019.
Sethman said he first approached church elders with allegations about Haggard in 2020.
St. James has declined in membership in recent years and earlier this year sold its building. Haggard is still head pastor but has moved the church’s services and study sessions to his home and is now calling his new congregation the Storyhouse Church.
Haggard was first ordained as a Southern Baptist but is now part of the Free Methodist Church. His new church does not appear to be affiliated with the denomination.
In 2016, Haggard helped found the Network of Redemptive Churches. In a sermon, he explained the group would “train church boards and church leadership in how to respond redemptively to the worst possible day, so that someone else’s sin is an opportunity to model the gospel, instead of someone else’s sin being a point of shame.”
Haggard is one in a long line of powerful evangelical leaders accused of sexual misconduct. Recently, those have included Bill Hybels, formerly of Willow Creek Community Church; Carl Lentz, formerly of Hillsong NYC, the Manhattan branch of the global megachurch; and the late Ravi Zacharias, who founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
Haggard could not be reached for comment.
Josh Shepherd contributed to this report.
Yonat Shimron is a national reporter and senior editor for Religion News Service.
18 thoughts on “Disgraced Colorado Pastor Ted Haggard Faces New Allegations”
“The Trials of Ted Haggard” (2008 HBO documentary) is still a solid take on all this even over a decade after its release. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out.
The biggest problem seems to be that Ted Haggard cannot seem to come to grips with the fact that he is living his own lie. He doesn’t have to do this. There are plenty of churches that accept out gay men.
Most concerning is whether he is a pedophile! He’s got a ready supply of kids at church.
Not all gay men want partners who they can manipulate and who are unable to consent. This type of behavior is rampant in heterosexuals as well. It is usually born and carried out for the need to maintain secrecy about their true activities and desires which has to do with narcissism, power and control.
One and done. If these children of satan who flock to our churches truly want redemption try working for the church. Maintenance or landscaping or janitor. Spend your time in a humble and helpful post. But noooooo. They always want back in to be the center of attention. Evangelicals industrial complex members are so easy to read. Malignant narcissists. Like those prosperity evangelicals. How anyone shows up more than once is beyond me. Not naming names but went to a church when I was younger and based on the cars the pastor and wife drove and talking tithes more than much else I was goneeee after a few services. God gives us discernment. Listen to God gentle voice vs fearing the preachers voice who often reminds you he is a representative of God and God talks thru him. Yeahhhh right.
In his book People of the Lie, M Scott Peck described an older simpler word for “Malignant Narcissism”:
That’s exactly right. Evil. It’s very disheartening that the Church can’t recognize it when they see it. Preferably the first time.
This is commonly called “Back to His Old Tricks”.
In Haggard’s case, Meth and Same-Sex Ehebephilia.
Last time it was while preaching Fred Phelps’ obsession from the pulpit while doing Rentboys in secret; has he continued this, too?
Probably….let’s tune in, and find out. I have a feeling we can go ahead and exhale.
This is what happens when you idolize megachurch rock-star “pastors”. You get burned, every single time.
Sometimes the celebrity preachers in question have severe and obvious moral failings like Haggard, Dollar, Hybels, and MacArthur. Sometimes they are technically squeaky clean like Warren and Osteen–merely content to preach watered-down nonsense to pack the pews of their stadiums and keep the mammon and favorable media flowing in.
Find yourselves real thriving community churches, people–and this crud won’t be nonexistent but it will happen much less. If you aren’t able to meet your pastor on a Sunday morning or to make an appointment to see him–find someplace else, brethren.
Well put, Brian. I agree wholeheartedly.
Is anybody at all surprised?
This happens as a result of biblical illiteracy or flat out rebellion against God in churches that consider this kind of person for leadership.
1 Timothy 3 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
If a pastor has had a serious failing like he did, he’s done with ever leading a church again. If he’s genuinely repentant (a consistent track record of the opposite behavior long term) he can be restored to fellowship, but not leadership. Leaders have to be above reproach and being involved a scandal while a professing believer doesn’t meet that criteria. Yes, that means fewer pastors.
To think that a Man, albeit a professing Christian man and Pastor, desires other Men to sodomize him is simply unthinkable and detestable!
You are so right. And becoming more of a rarity in our churches every day.
He once (about 4 years ago or so) posted a comment on Facebook that came off insensitive in a racial way. I made a comment on the thread that he may want to consider taking it down and he went balistic. It ended up being a situation of him trashing me and trying to fight with me on-line for some time. He even tracked my church’s phone number down on-line and started calling me there wanting to get into it. I did save the screen shots because it was so bizarre. I think he needs serious help.
Wow, holy crud, but not surprising. Darn few of these megachurch megalomaniacs have any real civility and self-control. When you think you’re God, you will have no boundaries.
Ted Haggard is both a deeply conflicted man and a man of many gifts. Sadly, he can’t seem to come to grips with who he is and what he should do. Most troubling is his targeting youth, and doing so in his own ministry. This is criminal behavior. It’s a severe abuse of power and trust. His transgressions and crimes were known to leadershipo at the Colorado Springs church he founded. Rather than take the hard path of restoration put in place during his own leadership of that church, he quit that process and started his own “brand” of church. The members there could hardly say they didn’t know of his past.
My biggest problem with him is the ultra-conservative brand of Christianity he espouses. It’s clear he is a gay man trying to preach, teach and live a lifestyle he cannot or will not conform with. He’s not a straight man but he keeps up the facade that he is. He does not have to do this but he does choose to pastor a church make his living.
In the U.S., having your own church can be the best type of grifting and in the end, you can pass it on to your kids.
His poor wife, I hope they don’t have children, he is putting his wife’s physical health at risk not to mention the emotional and spiritual battering, if he is lying to himself gate say he has her under his spell, and I mean spell, that kind of situation can crush a persons self esteem.
God bless her and give her strength. But respect will be gone, which is a cornerstone to love.
People caught in flagrant sin often want to go easy on sin. In the New Testament, there are many places where it tells us how to deal with sin, church discipline in other words.
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