Ted Haggard donors sent to nonprofit led by offender

Former New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard has asked for donations to help support his family and suggested that they be sent to a nonprofit whose leader has been convicted of sex crimes.

Haggard was fired from the Colorado Springs church after he admitted to “sexual immorality” in November. He made the admission after a gay Denver escort said Haggard paid him for sex for more than three years.

In a letter sent last week to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs, Haggard said that both he and his wife, Gayle, are enrolled at the University of Phoenix, and “it looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earning power again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years.”

Haggard suggested money be sent to his family in Arizona or to Families With A Mission, a nonprofit listed as a charitable organization in good standing with the state of Hawaii. The nonprofit was dissolved in Colorado in February 2007, according to the Colorado secretary of state’s office.

“Our non-profit organization never authorized a mass public appeal for donations for the Haggard family, nor were we even aware of it until published by the media,” Paul Huberty said in an e-mail to The Denver Post. “Not one donation has been solicited by our non-profit organization designated to or supporting the Haggard family – and our organization has not sent any solicited financial support to Pastor Haggard.”

Huberty, who was convicted in Hawaii of attempted sexual assault, is listed in that state as a registered sex offender who has moved. He lists his new address in Monument – the same address listed in the Colorado secretary of state’s office for Families With a Mission.

Federal records show Huberty was convicted by a panel of Air Force officers in 1996 of consensual sodomy, fondling his genitals in a public area, indecent acts and adultery. He was a lieutenant colonel at the time.

Huberty was not listed on the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office website as a registered sex offender in Colorado.

In the e-mail, he said: “My past record from years ago is documented and has nothing to do with Pastor Haggard or with this non-profit organization that seeks to help people in need.”

Haggard said in the e-mail to the TV station that his family would move into the Phoenix Dream Center on Oct. 1. The center is a ministry of Phoenix Assembly of God Church. One of Haggard’s overseers, Tommy Barnett, is the pastor there.

The Dream Center is a “halfway house for the homeless, those coming out of prison, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, and other broken people. I identify,” Haggard wrote in the e-mail.

The church said Monday that Haggard will not be moving into the center and that it was unaware he had sent the e-mail to the TV station.

“He had made a visit to the Phoenix Dream Center and saw the work that we do with the homeless and restoring people’s lives and all that. He spoke to some folks down there, but it was not approved by his oversight committee, and it was not part of the plan of his restoration,” said Leo Godzich, associate pastor of the church.

Asked how Haggard was doing in the restoration process, Godzich said: “I think he is doing very well in the restoration process, in our estimation, but that will remain private and confidential. If you start saying too many things, people read things into whatever you’re saying.”

Haggard, who has made $338,000 since the start of 2006, could not be reached for comment.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 28, 2007.
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