Evangelical Head Resigns as Church Votes Haggard Guilty of 'Sexually Immoral Conduct'

Controversial US evangelical Rev Ted Haggard has agreed to resign as the leader of the New Life Church, after its investigative board issued a recommendation for his removal. The recommendation stated that he was guilty of "sexually immoral conduct".

|PIC1|New Life Church stated, "We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct."

Earlier this week an "escort" reported that Haggard, who has also resigned from his position as the president of the US National Association of Evangelicals, had been paying him to partake in homosexual relations for three years.

As the rumours emerged, Haggard denied the accusations, however, he has now acknowledged to have at least paid the man for a massage, as well as buying methamphetamine from him.

Haggard's position within the church will be temporarily filled by Rev Ross Parsley until a permanent replacement is chosen. However, the statement gave a target to fulfil this by at least by the end of the year.

The statement from the church continued, "The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has 'demonstrated immoral conduct' whether we must 'remove the pastor from his position or discipline him in anyway they deem necessary'."

It continued, "In consultation with leading evangelical and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal."

One elder from New Life Church, James Groesbeck, reported to AP that he was satisfied with the investigative board's quick action. He said, "I'm saddened by what came out, but I think they've done their job."

"I think it's going to be really difficult in a week or two."

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