Bishop Long: ‘I’m Going to Fight’ Sexual Charges ‘Very Fiercely’
September 26, 2010
(ChattahBox US News)—-Bishop Eddie Long, the virulently anti-gay pastor of the Atlanta-based megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, personally addressed the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in four lawsuits filed by former male parishioners. Speaking before a packed house during Sunday services, Long told his congregation that he was “not a perfect man,” but that he has been portrayed unfairly in the media. “I’m going to fight,” declared Long to cheers and applause. Long, who once said homosexuals should be put to death, later made a brief statement before a roomful of assembled reporters. Without addressing the details of the allegations of sexual coercion of teen boys, Long said he planned to “very fiercely” fight the charges.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Long “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.” Now, four men are charging that Long coerced them into sexual relations when they were teens. They also accuse Long of sexual coercion in hotel rooms, while they accompanied Long on around-the-world trips.
As the more scandalous details of the alleged sexual coercion received heavy media coverage this past week, Long refrained from personally addressing the charges, until today.
“I’ve been accused, I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man,” he said. “But this thing, I’m going to fight.
Long went on to portray himself as a helpless victim fighting powerful forces.
“And I want you to know one other thing,” he said “I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”
Married with four children, Long is accused of engaging in a “pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship,” said a suit filed by one of the men, Maurice Robinson, now 20.
Long is also accused of seducing the young men with gifts, cash and trips.
The fourth lawsuit filed by Spencer LeGrande, now 22, describes Ambien-induced sexual contact in Long’s hotel room, during a trip to Kenya.
On the first night in Nairobi, Long asked LeGrande to come to his room, where the youth told the pastor he was having difficulty going to sleep, the suit states. Long provided Ambien, a sleep aid, and they both took the drug, according to the suit.
Long then gave LeGrande a hug, kissed and licked the youth’s lips and rubbed the teen’s chest, according to the lawsuit. They slept in bed together that evening and during the rest of the Kenya trip, the lawsuit states, adding they went on shopping sprees.
After his remarks during a Sunday service, Long strode into a room and read a brief statement, while accompanied by his lawyer and his wife.
Long said that “on advice of counsel, I am not going to address the attacks against me. But the beleaguered megachurch pastor and televangelist, reiterated his earlier fighting words.
“I will say that I’m going to fight, fight very fiercely against these charges,” said Long before leaving the room without taking any questions.