Some 12 years after starting in Colorado St. James Church In a provocative throwback to a 2006 sex scandal involving illegal drug use and a male prostitute, former National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard has been accused of inappropriately touching at least two young men and of using illicit drugs during his new ministry.
“People are scared and worried and don’t want to be connected to him anymore,” said Reverend Kirk “Seth” Sethman, who was ordained a minister by St. James’s Church in October 2012. told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
St. James’s Church did not immediately respond to questions about the allegations when contacted by The Christian Post on Wednesday. But Sethman, a reformed drug addict who served time in prison as a young adult for burglary, insists Haggard has not been delivered from his wayward inclinations.
He told The Gazette that in the spring of 2012, just under two years after Haggard and his wife, Gayle, opened St. James’s Church, the megachurch’s former pastor asked a young a male member of the church whom he advised to buy methamphetamine from him.
Sethman said the young member, who was recovering from heroin addiction, told him about what happened. He asked another member who is a doctor to help him confront Haggard. He said when they confronted Haggard, the pastor admitted to having methamphetamine and said he planned to use it to celebrate his upcoming birthday.
The pastor of St. James’s Church then asked the two men to help him get the drugs out of his house so he wouldn’t be tempted to use them.
Sethman said when they arrived at Haggard’s house, Haggard gave him a briefcase to throw away.
“He asked us to hide the matter and said he would report to us in the future,” Sethman said. “Which never happened.”
Sethman said after leaving Haggard’s house, he opened the briefcase and found a bag containing a small amount of nearly one gram of methamphetamine that the young church member had purchased for the pastor. Also reportedly there was a “well-used” glass meth pipe, several sex toys, a DVD with two young men on the cover, and a credit card with Ted Haggard’s name on it.
Sethman, who went blind in 2015 due to a medical condition, said he didn’t call the police because he wanted to protect Haggard, the church and the young man. He said he opted to smoke the remaining meth instead and waited about a year before getting rid of the briefcase.
“I was protecting the young man, the church and Ted,” Sethman said. “My choice that I made was wrong, but I thought I was doing well.”
The report says Sethman relapsed into drug and alcohol use until 2017 when he joined St. James’s Church.
Around this time, Sethman said a young man told him that “”it was really weird that Ted kept pushing him to go quad biking in the woods with him. “”
In 2006, Haggard was forced to resign as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after he confessed to “sexual immorality” with the escort. Men’s Denver Mike Jones. Haggard, who said he would call himself bisexual if he was not a Christian pastor, said he did not have sex with the prostitute.
“We never had sex. I bought him drugs and a massage, and he masturbated me at the end. That’s it,” he told GQ in 2011.
Haggard initially denied using methamphetamine which he allegedly bought from Jones, but later admitted to using the drug.
“Sometimes I would throw it away,” he told GQ. “Other times I would go somewhere and masturbate and use it. But that was for masturbation. And that’s one of the reasons I wasn’t really clear. I don’t don’t want to stand up publicly and say, ‘Hey, I’m a masturbation guy!’
Sethman told The Gazette that he didn’t know about Haggard’s 2006 scandal until January 2019 and after that discovery he became more concerned about the stories he had heard about how he behaved with young men.
He shared recorded testimony from two young men saying Haggard made them feel uncomfortable with touching they felt was inappropriate.
“Sometimes when he touches me it’s very predatory and very strange,” said one of the men, who was underage at the time of the alleged touching. “He’ll touch me on my pecs or my back or hug me in such a way that I slide down his hip or the side of his thigh or his butt. You can kind of say that’s weird. “
“There’s a lot of very suspicious things he does, and you’re like, ‘this doesn’t look or doesn’t look right.'”
The second young adult man said he was uncomfortable with Haggard’s behavior towards the teenager and other minors.
Sethman, who worked as a children’s ministry volunteer under Haggard at New Life Church, said in April 2020 some elders called on Haggard to step down over concerns raised by the young men.
“What prompted me to write this letter was his abuse of authority and his denial,” an unidentified elder, who called on executives to remove Haggard from his role, told The Gazette. “We were looking for accountability.”
The eldest says she knows a lot of people are touched by his charisma, but she sees him as a “silver-tongued serpent…in many ways, who finds excuses and lies.”
In April, Haggard announced that he was changing the model of his church for a series of house churches and changed the name to Storyhouse Church. He said there had been a “slow decline” in the church over the past two years.
The St. James Church building was sold for $1.95 million, The Gazette reported, citing county records.
Sethman says he’s even more concerned about the potential for abuse inside Haggard’s home.
“My prayer,” Sethman said, “is to protect children and young adults.”