As reported by Rod 2.0 and now confirmed by the Associated Press and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a fourth man as filed a lawsuit alleging sexual coercion against suburban Atlanta-based anti-gay mega-church pastor Eddie Long. Other legal actions are reportedly in the pipeline. "At least two other cases are being prepared," a source close to the investigation tells Rod 2.0.
The fourth and latest lawsuit was filed by Spencer LeGrande, a member of New Birth Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina. New Birth Charlotte is a satellite church operated by Long. The allegations are similar to the two actions filed Tuesday and third suit filed Wednesday ... except LeGrande alleges that Long drugged him with a sleeping pill or another narcotic.
"The lawsuit said Long told LeGrande 'I will be your dad' and invited the [16-year-old] to journey to Kenya with him in July 2005. LeGrande said that Long gave him a sleeping pill on that trip and that the two engaged in sexual acts. The lawsuit claims Long convinced LeGrande that 'engaging in a sexual relationship was a healthy component of his spiritual life,' the complaint said. LeGrande, now 22, said the two continued their relationship on a February 2006 trip to South Africa and after he moved to Atlanta at Long's encouragement. He said that Long also instructed him not to have girlfriends, but that he pulled away in the spring of 2009 after he became "disillusioned." He moved back to Charlotte in October, it said."
''There may be more to the 'sleeping pill' allegations," the source close to the lawsuits tells R20. "We are not sure if that is what it was."
In the first two suits filed Tuesday, Anthony Flagg and Maurice Robinson claimed Long "coerced" them and numerous young men "into engaging in sexual acts and relationships for his own personal sexual gratification." The suits allege Long used church funds to give them cash, gifts and cars. Read the complaints HERE and HERE.
Twenty-three-year-old Jamal Parris filed the third lawsuit against the anti-gay mega-church pastor. Parris joined the church in 2001 when he was 14 years old and "within two weeks, Long met Parris and gave Parris his personal cell phone number." Long reportedly used church funds to give money, gifts and trips to induce a sexual relationship with Parris and encouraged Parris to call him “Daddy”. Read the complaint HERE.
The embattled pastor canceled a proposed press conference and radio interviews Thursday morning, after the third lawsuit was announced and "Pastors with iPhones" photos were released, showing Long modeling lycra muscle tees and apparently sent to select young men in his congregation.
Pastors from across Atlanta gathered to pray for Bishop Eddie Long this afternoon. Organizers say it was "not about hearing the legal issues" surrounding Eddie Long but to "respond" to the crisis. No prayers for the alleged victims were mentioned.
Via his attorney and church spokesmen, Eddie Long has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. On Sunday, Long is expected to deliver his first public message since the accusations emerged. AOL Black Voices and Bossip report that Long will step down on Sunday ...
Sources close to the cases tell Rod 2.0 the FBI is involved and investigating the financial angle of the case. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reportedly interviewing the plaintiffs and witnesses. More details as they develop ...