2nd Colo. pastor quits over ‘sexual misconduct’

/ Source: The Associated Press

A pastor who worked with young adults at New Life Church has admitted sexual misconduct and resigned just weeks after former church leader Ted Haggard stepped down over sexual immorality.

Christopher Beard, who headed the “twentyfourseven” ministry that taught leadership skills to young adults, resigned Friday, said Rob Brendle, an associate pastor at the 14,000-member church.

Brendle said Beard told church officials about “a series of decisions displaying poor judgment, including one incident of sexual misconduct several years ago.”

The church said in a statement that the misconduct was with another unmarried adult several years ago. Beard, who worked at the church for nine years, has since married.

Brendle would not elaborate about the nature of the misconduct but said it did not involve Haggard, who acknowledged he paid a man for a massage and for methamphetamine but said he did not have sex with the man and did not use the drug.

'Spiritual character'
Beard’s resignation was first reported Monday by The Denver Post and The Gazette in Colorado Springs. The church said it wouldn’t comment further. A residential phone number listed in Beard’s name was disconnected.

The church’s outside Board of Overseers was asked to examine the “spiritual character” of its 200 staff members after Haggard resigned last month from the church and as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

“We recognize there will be increased scrutiny of our church in the wake of the scandal,” Brendle said.

He said Beard discussed his “misconduct” during a meeting with the Board of Overseers, made up of four pastors from other congregations.

Beard was reprimanded by the church in 2002, when police broke up a twentyfourseven training exercise he led in a church parking lot involving fake assault rifles.

Haggard and his wife, Gayle Haggard, are undergoing three weeks of counseling at an undisclosed center in Arizona.