The man who outed Colorado evangelist Rev. Ted Haggard for soliciting him for gay sex is among the latest crop of homosexuals who are claiming to have had suggestive confrontations or outright sex with Idaho Sen. Larry Craig.
Mike Jones, a former prostitute who ended Haggard's career, told The Idaho Statesman that Craig paid him for sex in late 2004 or early 2005. Jones, 50, said the encounter lasted less than an hour and cost Craig $200.
Jones told the paper he recognized Craig, 62, only after the national news picked up a story in August of Craig's guilty plea for a disorderly conduct charge relating to an incident in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis airport in June.
"Once I saw Larry Craig do his news conference, that's when I go, 'My God! That guy came to see me,'" Jones is quoted saying in Sunday editions of The Statesman.
The graphic details of the alleged encounter are relayed in the newspaper, which for decades has made Craig's sexual orientation one of its chief investigative projects. The newspaper said it discovered that the date of the supposed meeting between Craig and Jones coincides with several visits Craig made to Colorado in the time between November 2004 and March 2005.
According to the newspaper, Craig spokesman Dan Whiting responded to the allegation by telling Idaho television station KIVI: "Mike Jones is lying in order to sell his book — plain and simple. Larry has never met Mike Jones."
Jones, who has written a book about his experience with Haggard, who was forced out as pastor of New Life Church after the gay affair was exposed, admitted the Craig relationship could help book sales, but told the newspaper he is motivated by the desire to expose hypocrisy by men like Haggard and Craig, who has a consistently anti-gay voting record in Congress.
Jones' account is one of five stories recounted by gay men who say they've had encounters with the Republican senator. Two of the five detail sexual liaisons. The other three stories relay alleged propositions made by Craig.
Craig has denied repeatedly that he is gay but his explanation for what he calls a misunderstanding in the airport restroom stemming from his "wide stance" in bathroom stalls has become a sarcasm-laced excuse for people who deny obvious wrongdoing.
In a television interview in October, Craig's claim that he is not gay shifted much of the public's opinion in his favor, but he is still retiring from office at the end of the 110th Congress. He had originally said he would resign in September but changed his mind after initiating legal proceedings to have his guilty plea scrubbed.