Source AP ©

Former male prostitute claims he had sex with priest and US senator

A 50-year-old former prostitute from Denver named Mike Jones claims he had sex with one of the rising stars of evangelical Christian politics the Rev. Ted Haggard and a year later, with a conservative U.S. senator Larry Craig.

"I'll put my credibility up against Larry Craig's," Jones told The Associated Press on Monday. "Here's a man that doesn't know the difference between innocence and guilty ... I think people know he's been a liar.

"And more than a liar, so much in denial," Jones said.

Craig maintains he is not gay and has denied the latest allegations. His spokesman called Jones a liar who is trying to sell a book about his involvement with Haggard.

Jones is among eight men quoted in the Idaho Statesman newspaper, alleging sexual encounters with the Republican senator. Jones was among four men who agreed to be identified by name.

Craig is fighting to keep his seat after pleading guilty in August to disorderly conduct after being accused by an undercover officer of s oliciting sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Jones told the Statesman that Craig paid him $200 ( EUR 135) to have sex in Denver on a night between November 2004 and March 2005.

The newspaper reported Craig was in Denver on Feb. 11, 2005, and in the ski resort of Keystone, Colorado, on Feb. 12, and his Senate travel records showed six other trips where he may have had layovers in Denver in that time.

Jones said Monday he did not know who Craig was at the time of their encounter. He said he made the connection only when he saw Craig speak at a televised news conference.

Craig gave no other indication of his identity, where he was from or why he was in Denver, Jones said.

In November 2006, Jones aired allegations of a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard and that Haggard used methamphetamine.

Fired from New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" and said he bought meth but never used it.

A year ago, Jones said he saw Haggard on TV and suddenly recognizing him as a client.

Jones said that it was no surprise to him that he had crossed paths with both Haggard and Craig - the bodybuilder advertised his massage services on Rentboy.com and in gay publications.

"It's not like these are the only two high-profile guys I saw," he said. "But I've never heard the others speak ill about the homosexual community or about being gay, so I have no reason to say anything about them."

Jones portrayed himself as a reluctant whistle-blower.

He said that if he were just trying to sell more books, he could have gone public at the height of the Craig scandal, which would have been closer to his book release in June.

Jones said he only contacted the newspaper after Craig reneged on plans to resign. And then, Jones said he only agreed to take his story public if other men came forward, so he wouldn't be standing alone.

But some question Jones' account about Craig, including Mike Rogers, an Internet-based activist who had a hand in outing several Republican politicians, including former Rep. Mark Foley.

While Rogers said he does not know enough to pass judgment on Jones' account, he noted that in the Haggard case, Jones had evidence including taped phone conversations with Haggard. Jones has not revealed similar evidence with Craig, and the senator's travel records are public record, Rogers said.

"What are the odds?" Rogers said. "It's not like (Jones) is the hustler to the stars in New York ... In situations like this, a lot of folks come out of the woodwork."

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