Pastor Releases Statement to Sex ScandalSeptember 23, 2010 - 12:13 PM | by: Elizabeth Prann
Three men have filed lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., a suburb 16 miles east of Atlanta. They allege he misused his spiritual authority to seduce and bribe them for sex acts when they were teenagers. All the boys were 16 or older, Georgia’s legal age of consent.
The claims are laid out in three separate civil suits which claim the pastor gave the teenagers cars, money, clothes and international trips. There are also details of occasions when the pastor and teens shared bedrooms.
Maurice Robinson, 20, Anthony Flass, 21, and Jamal Parris 23 are all represented by BJ Bernstein. The lawyer released photos of the pastor Wednesday in a tight tank top with what appears to be spandex shorts in a bathroom. She also said more emails, texts and phone calls will be released in court. She said, based on the boys’ statements, there could be more victims who come forward.
Long was scheduled to appear on Tom Joyner’s nationally syndicated radio show Thursday morning, but canceled after the third accuser came forward. His attorney, Craig Gillen, appeared in his place and read a statement on Long’s behalf.
“Let me be clear. The charges against me and New Birth are false,” Gillen said. He went on to say the pastor would address his congregation during Sunday morning services.
Long was appointed pastor in 1987 when the church had about 150 members, it has since grown to more than 25,000. In 2006 Bishop Long hosted four living presidents including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton for the funeral of Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow.
Long has a history of anti-gay activistism. In 2004, he led a march of 10,000 congregants through the streets of Atlanta to protest same-sex marriage.