NEW LIFE CHURCH INVOLVED IN COVER-UP?
New acccusations have surfaced against Pastor Ted Haggard from a New Life Church volunteer who says he had sexual relations with Haggard, some of them non-consensual.
KRDO, which is set to air the interview with the volunteer, played a tape-recorded clip for viewers: "Sometime, somewhere, some reporter will ultimately get to me and they'll say what about BLEEP? And I will say what BLEEP said was true."
The BLEEPs, the station says, were in place to protect the identity of the volunteer.
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
KRDO reports: "A member of New Life Church tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 that Haggard took advantage of him sexually one night. The man, in his early 20's, claims he was paid a large sum of money by New Life Church to keep the abuse quiet. Under an agreement with the church he was not supposed to speak of the allegations with anyone outside the church. If he did, he would violate the agreement and would forfeit the money and could be sued by the church."
New Life Church's new pastor, Brady Boyd, claims that the settlement was not "hush money" but was intended to assist the volunteer with counseling and college tuition:
"Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly. Boyd said a Colorado Springs TV station reached him Thursday to say the young man was planning to provide a detailed report of his relationship with Haggard to the station. Boyd said the church preferred to keep the matter private, but it was the man's decision to go public. Anticipating criticism of the settlement with the former church volunteer, Boyd said Friday that it was in the best interests of all involved. He would not name the volunteer or the settlement amount. 'It wasn't at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story,' Boyd said. 'Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know what's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was.' He said that 'secondarily, it's not great for our church either' that the story be told. Boyd said Haggard knew about the settlement two years ago.
Boyd emailed a letter Friday to New Life Church members, saying: "This decision was made not as an attempt to conceal wrongdoings, but to protect him from those who would seek to exploit him. His actions now suggest that he has changed his mind. [The church] received reports of a number of incidents of inappropriate behavior [after Haggard's fall]. In each case, we have tried our very best to do the right thing each time, including disciplinary action when appropriate."
Boyd said he thought the reason the volunteer was coming forward was that because of the documentary Haggard was being seen as a victim, and that the church has no plans to take legal action against the young man.
Haggard is set to appear on Larry King Live on Thursday.
Watch KRDO's report, AFTER THE JUMP...