Paper: 8 Men Claim Encounters With Craig

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The Associated Press
Sunday, December 2, 2007; 10:40 PM

BOISE, Idaho -- Eight men say they either had sex with Sen. Larry Craig or were targets of sexual advances by the Idaho lawmaker at various times during his political career, a newspaper reported Sunday.

One of the men is the former escort whose allegations disgraced the Rev. Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Idaho Statesman reported.

The newspaper identified four men and reported details of the encounters they say involved Craig. It also reported the accounts of four other men who did not agree to be identified but who described sexual advances or encounters involving the conservative Republican, who opposes same-sex marriage and has a strong record against gay rights.

Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being accused by an undercover officer of soliciting sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and later called a news conference to deny that he is gay.

The newspaper acknowledged that its report was not based on definitive evidence but said it also found no evidence to disprove the accounts of the four identified men. It said it reviewed the senator's travel records, which put him where the sex is alleged to have taken place, and did background checks on those making the allegations.

Craig and members of his staff declined to comment to the newspaper.

But in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Sunday, the senator said the newspaper's report was "completely false" and he accused the paper of careless journalism.

"It is unfortunate that the Idaho Statesman has chosen to continue to lower itself to the standards of what can best be described as tabloid journalism," Craig said in the statement.

"Despite the fact the Idaho Statesman has decided to pursue its own agenda and print these falsehoods without any facts to back them up, I won't let this paper's attempt to malign my name stop me from continuing my work to serve the people of Idaho."

The report is the Statesman's latest on allegations about Craig's sexual background since his June arrest in an airport men's room sex sting operation was reported in late August.

Statesman Editor Vicki Gowler said the newspaper spent several months checking the backgrounds and details of the men's stories.

"We believe it's important for you to know what we've learned and to hear the men's own words," Gowler said.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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