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Swaggart Admits Sex with Prostitute, Will Step Down

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Swaggart Admits Sex with Prostitute, Will Step Down

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The Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, who last year called Jim Bakker, a fellow television evangelist, a “cancer on the body of Christ,” today admitted to his own misdeeds and requested for forgiveness.

A crying Swaggart asked for forgiveness and announced he would step aside from his pulpit for a “indeterminate period of time” before an overflow crowd of more than 6,000 at his ministry’s Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge.

Mr. Swaggart’s confession was triggered by an Assemblies of God investigation into his behavior, which was apparently motivated by charges made by a rival evangelist that Mr. Swaggart frequented prostitutes in New Orleans.

“I do not plan in any way to whitewash my sin or call it a mistake,” he told a sorrowful but forgiving audience. “I call it a sin.”

“No one is to blame but Jimmy Swaggart.

“I take the responsibility. I take the blame. I take the fall.”

Swaggart, who a year ago slammed fellow Assemblies of God evangelist Jim Bakker for infidelity, had made no mention of his own wrongdoing.

“Every time I have stood before a congregation, before these television cameras, I have met and faced the issues head on. I have never skirted or sidestepped unpleasantries,” Swaggart said. “I can do no less this morning.”

Mr. Swaggart is a former rural Louisiana Pentacostal preacher whose evangelical television ministry grew to 142 countries and generated $140 million in yearly donations.

Another former Assemblies evangelist, Marvin Gorman of New Orleans, is said to have launched the Swaggart probe. Gorman was defrocked by the denomination in 1986 after Swaggart accused him of sexual dalliances.

Gorman allegedly supplied images of Swaggart entering a hotel room with a prostitute to Assemblies authorities in Springfield, Mo. Hunter Lundy, Gorman’s attorney, said of the images, “I know they exist and they’re very relevant.” The photographs, according to ABC News, are open to interpretation.

Swaggart had confessed to church authorities and his family, Forest H. Hall, secretary treasurer of the Louisiana District of the Assemblies of God, told the 7500 guests in Swaggart’s enormous family worship facility.

“He confessed to specific incidents of moral failure,” Hall explained. “In the opinion of the officers of the Louisiana District, he has shown true humility and repentance and has not tried to blame anyone else for his failure.”

Mr. Hall stated that after hearing all of the facts and circumstances, district church leaders will determine “appropriate disciplinary procedures.”

Swaggart was asked to “to resist the urgings of those outside the church to respond to questions” and church members were urged to “to refrain from speculation and imagination about this matter.”

According to a person who spoke with a Jimmy Swaggart World Ministries board member, the preacher has admitted to having a penchant for pornography and pornographic material that stretches back to his childhood. Swaggart said he had no sexual relations with the prostitute, but confessed that “he paid her to perform pornographic acts.”

Swaggart allegedly informed ministry board members that the incident had caused him grief and emotional distress, and that he had concealed it from his wife, Frances.

Mr. Swaggart addressed his wife, Frances, first, and spoke of the power and devotion she contributed to his ministry before saying, haltingly, “Oh, I have sinned against you, and I beg your forgiveness.”

”My sin was done in secret,” he said, ”and God has said to me I will do what I do before the whole world.”

Swaggart also apologized to people he had preached to and to the students at his Bible college, his voice shaking.

Swaggart said, “And most of all to my Lord and my savior, my redeemer, the one who I serve and I love and I worship. I bow at his feet who has saved me and washed me and cleansed me. I have sinned against you.”

“Why? I have asked myself that 10,000 times through 10,000 tears,” Swaggart said.

Hundreds of people rose to their feet and rushed to the altar to surround him at the conclusion of the Sunday morning service, which had devolved into a crying pastoral confession. They knelt in front of him and seemed to grant his request.

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