"Struggled" on Choice to Step Forward
Profile: Mike Jones
By Felisa Cardona
Denver Post [Colorado]
November 2, 2006
By the time Michael Forest Jones was 13 years old, he knew he could use his looks and his body to his advantage.
The 49-year-old gay man started working as an escort - he prefers that term to prostitute - when he was 25. He made more than $200 from clients who answered his ad for a massage.
"People thought I was good-looking, with a nice body," Jones said. "It just slowly transpired, and I decided to try it."
The muscular, blue-eyed Jones posted ads offering a massage on Rentboy.com and in gay publications. He claims that the Rev. Ted Haggard - known to him, Jones says, as "Art" until recently - contacted him three years ago after reading one of his ads.
Haggard denies the allegations that the two engaged in sex acts monthly and that Haggard snorted methamphetamine.
About six months ago, Jones said, he saw Haggard on a History Channel show about the Antichrist, did some research and learned who he was.
At first he didn't confront Haggard, but Jones said that once he realized Haggard did not support gay marriage, he decided to come forward.
"I struggled a lot," Jones said. "I cried a lot with my decision. I finally decided I had to do it out of respect to the community and my friends."
Jones, a native Coloradan, says he quit the escort business a couple of years ago and is working as a part-time model. However, a classified ad for Jones' massage services appears in the Nov. 1 edition of Out Front magazine.
He says he continued to meet Haggard as late as August for paid sex because Haggard was a "holdover" from his old days. He claims that professional athletes, clergy, politicians and movie stars were his clients.
Jones filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April with $100,000 in credit-card debt.
In February 2003, Littleton police gave Jones a ticket after he tried to break into a friend's house. According to a police report, the friend thought Jones was a prowler. Police found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the house; Jones was issued a ticket for destruction of property and released because he had no drugs on him, police said.
Staff writers Manny Gonzales and Karissa Marcum contributed to this report.
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