Two Georgia men have filed lawsuits claiming that prominent Atlanta-based mega-church pastor Bishop Eddie Long coerced them into sex, reports CNN and CNN.com. Long pastors one of the largest and most prominent Black mega-churches in the country and has routinely spoken out and marched against gay rights.
"Defendant Long has 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," the suits allege. The pastor took one plaintiff, Anthony Flagg, 21, on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years, Flagg's suit alleges. "Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact," the suit says.
Long took the other plaintiff, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 18th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson's suit alleges. "Following the New Zealand Trip, Defendant Long regularly engaged in sexual touching, and other sexual acts with Plaintiff Robinson," Robinson's suit alleges. Long spokesman Art Franklin said Tuesday that "we categorically deny the allegations." "It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action," he said. "Our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit."
The lawsuits name Long, New Birth MB and the Longfellows Youth Academy as defendants, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution. According to the suits, the Academy is a program for young men 13 through 18. The suits seek unspecified damages from Long. It is not yet online at the DeKalb County court system.
In June, Robinson was arrested and charged with burglary in connection with a break-in to Long's church office, reports the Journal Constitution. An iPhone, iPad and other items were taken from the office. Robinson's attorney says the theft was Robinson's attempt to retaliate against the pastor. The lawsuit also claims Flagg was moved into a home owned by another New Birth pastor when he was only a high school junior.
The FBI reportedly is reviewing the case, an Atlanta source tells R20.
Long is a married father of four. Known for his extravagance and "routinely preach[ing] sermons dressed in expensive tailored suits and dripping in diamonds," Long and fellow Atlanta-based mega-pastor Creflo Dollar are among the high-profile televanelists being audited by a Senate committee.
If schadenfreude could be compared to a gourmet meal, the bombshell allegations against Eddie Long certainly qualifies as a four-star feast at Le Cirque. In addition to being one of the nation's most prominent pastors, Long is also among the most vocal critics of gay rights and same-sex marriage in the Black church. In December 2004, one month after voters approved an amendment to the Georgia state Constitution that banned gay marriage, Long led a 25,000 person march against gay rights and marriage equality.
Eddie Long is also the spiritual mentor of the anti-gay Rev. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and new chair of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization founded by her father more than five decades ago. Julian Bond, the chair of the NAACP and a strong supporter of gay rights, refused to attend the funeral of Coretta Scott King that was held at New Birth MB Church. "I knew her attitude toward gay and lesbian rights. And I just couldn't imagine that she'd want to be in that church with a minister who was a raving homophobe. And I couldn't see myself in my church either."
Glass stones, houses, etc.. More details as they develop.
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