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US Evangelical Leader Resigns Over Sex Allegations


The president of a 30 million-member U.S. evangelical Christian organization has resigned after accusations surfaced he has been meeting monthly with a male prostitute for the past three years.

In a statement Thursday, Reverend Ted Haggard denied the allegations but said he was voluntarily stepping aside to "allow the overseer process to proceed with integrity." He has also stepped down as head of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado.

Haggard resigned after Mike Jones, 49, told reporters that Haggard had met with him regularly and paid for sex. He says Haggard also used drugs during their encounters.

The Denver man says he came forward because he felt Haggard's staunch opposition to same-sex marriage was hypocritical.

To support his claims, Jones says he has voice mails left by Haggard and a payment envelope sent by him.

Haggard has been a strong supporter of President Bush and is credited with helping to rally conservative evangelical Christians behind the president's re-election campaign in 2004.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.