COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Rev. Ted Haggard, who left the megachurch he founded after admitting to "sexual immorality," has asked supporters for financial assistance while he and his wife pursue their studies.
The former New Life Church pastor plans to seek a master's degree in counseling at the University of Phoenix while his wife studies psychology, he said in an e-mail sent this week to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs.
The couple and two of their sons planned to move Oct. 1 to the Phoenix Dream Center, a faith-based halfway house in Phoenix, where Haggard and his wife would provide counseling, the e-mail said.
"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," the e-mail said. "During that time we will continue as full-time students, and then, when I graduate, we won't need outside support any longer."
Haggard left the 10,000-member New Life Church late last year and resigned as head of the National Association of Evangelicals after a former male escort accused Haggard of paying him for sex.
Mike Ware, an overseer for New Life Church, told The Gazette of Colorado Springs on Friday that it was premature of Haggard to release the statement without first consulting the overseers.
A New Life spokesman did not immediately return a phone message left late Friday by The Associated Press.
Haggard received a salary of $115,000 for the 10 months he worked in 2006 and an $85,000 anniversary bonus before the scandal broke, The Gazette reported. Haggard's severance package included a year's salary of $138,000, and he collects royalties on his book titles, the newspaper reported.
El Paso County records show Haggard's home, which has been up for sale, has a market value of $715,051.