Suit accuses Ga. pastor of sex with teens

September 23rd, 2010 by Staff

Source: The Washington Post — Bishop Eddie Long, the pastor of a megachurch in suburban Atlanta, is being sued by three male church members who allege that he coerced them into sexual relationships.

The three, now in their 20s, say Long used jewelry, cars, cash and his authority as pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to lure them into the relationships when they were 17 and 18.

Long “adamantly denies” the claims, saying they are “without merit,” his spokesman, Art Franklin, told CNN.

Long has announced a news conference for Thursday.

The plaintiffs – Anthony Flagg, 21, Maurice Robinson, 20, and Jamal Parris, 23 – seek unspecified damages.

They claim in their lawsuits, filed Tuesday and Wednesday in DeKalb County, Ga., that Long “has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members . . . to engage in sexual relationships.”

Lance Robertson, who joined New Birth nearly two decades ago and has coached youth basketball there, said Wednesday that members were hurting.

“I support and will stand with my bishop, but right now, in the court of public opinion, it does not look good,” Robertson told the Associated Press. “This affects too many people. As the bishop goes, New Birth goes. He built New Birth.”

When Long arrived at New Birth Missionary in 1987, it had a congregation of 300 members. Today, it sits on 250 acres in Lithonia, east of Atlanta, and has more than 25,000 members, a $50 million, 10,000-seat cathedral and more than 40 ministries.

In 2006, New Birth hosted the funeral of civil rights leader Coretta Scott King. The Rev. Bernice King, a daughter of Coretta and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is a pastor at the church.

Long has called for a national ban on same-sex marriage. In 2004, he led a march with Bernice King to her father’s Atlanta grave to support a national constitutional amendment to protect marriage “between one man and one woman.”

One Response

  1. chocolate starfish

    This dude looks like a fat version of the director on NCIS

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