On Call

Mike Jones wasn't the only one to get regular visits from "Art."

That was too much for James Dobson, the focus of some of Wednesday's guesswork. Colorado Springs's other most powerful religious figure issued a statement saying that "all of us at Focus on the Family are heartsick over the allegation, not yet confirmed, that Ted has had a private life with a homosexual for several years."

On Saturday, the New Life Church Board of Overseers removed Haggard from his leadership position, and the next day read Haggard's letter of apology to thousands of worshipers gathered at the church he had founded. He was "guilty of sexual immorality," Haggard had written. "I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life."

And with that, Haggard went silent. But the spotlight's still on Jones. On Saturday he was in New York City for an early appearance on Today, flying back to Denver just in time to get the news that Haggard had been relieved of his pulpit. "I burst out crying when I heard," he says. He was still wearing his TV makeup when he landed, and he stopped by King Soopers to buy some more. Inside Edition was calling, and one of Larry King's producers was meeting with him Monday. After this past week, Jones says, "I have stuff to hide."

Mr. Jones has a thing going on
Mr. Jones has a thing going on

But not the truth. "I knew it was going to be a story," he continues, "but I'm so naive about this." If he'd known how big the story would get, he would have packed a suitcase. (He's going back to New York on Monday.) He would have prepared his family. He would have prepared himself for the attention — good and bad. "I always realized I was gay — since I was a kid. I didn't know what it was then, but knew I was attracted to men," he says. "My whole life, I've always been a loner."

And he made the decision to go public on his own, without prodding from anyone or anything but his own conscience. Which keeps talking. "I have cried because of Haggard's family," Jones says. "But he was the one who came to me. People need to keep that in perspective. I could have ruined a lot of lives, but there was a reason for this one. He touched a lot of people's lives."

Haggard's life is now in the hands of several senior ministers — showing rare wisdom, Dobson backed out of the job — who are charged with determining just how dark his life has gotten. They might find it illuminating to stop by the Crypt, the adult store on Broadway where "Art" was a regular customer, spending a couple hundred dollars a month on sex toys, according to a former clerk. He bought "mass quantities" of cock rings, the clerk remembers, as well as an electrical unit designed to stimulate the urethra. One time he wanted some "very graphic and gay" videos, but the store was out of the titles, so "Art" left a number where the clerk could reach him. The number is the same one that Jones called last Wednesday to warn Haggard that they needed to talk.

"Art" — who was willing to confess to buying meth, but not to touching a man — didn't return Jones's call. And he didn't return mine.

"I feel bad for both parties," says the former Crypt clerk. "But they kind of brought it on themselves."

I got fucked by a male escort, but was it good for you?

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