Southern Religion

Fourth lawsuit filed against Bishop Eddie Long

Craig Schneider of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote Friday:

Spencer LeGrande filed suit against Long Friday, marking the fourth such action filed this week. He said in the suit that he met Long when he was 15 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., where he and his mother were among the founding families. He said he accompanied Long on several trips abroad and later moved to Atlanta.

New Birth Charlotte is a satellite church of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.

Three other young men have filed similar suits against Long. All four claim Long, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement,” repeatedly coerced them into sex when they were younger.

His father, 55-year-old Greensboro, N.C., furniture store worker Eddie LeGrande said:

He never told me. He never gave me a clue,

But looking back, he said, “There were red flags.” The trips, the gifts, the attention, he said.

“I’m very upset about it,” he said. “I’m very hurt about it. I’m very hurt for my son.”

If the accusations are true, he said, “I think he should be banned from his church. I think he should do jail time, and he should pay the victims for the hurt. He should be used as an example.”

Long has thus far denied but nonetheless responded only briefly to the allegations.

Long made a telephone conference call to pastors and supports Friday:

We will arise through this situation, and go forward, and we are moving forward,” Long said, according to CNN affiliate WGCL-TV, which monitored the call.

“I have never dealt with anything like this before. I have been under attack before, but everything else has been different levels and different challenges,” Long said. He took no questions.

Keith Whitney of Atlanta’s wrote on Friday:

Bishop Long is expected, however, to tell his side on Sunday in the ultimate venue. The pulpit.

Wikipedia’s list of mostly American Christian evangelist scandals includes Long’s mentor, Earl Paulk, whose career concluded amid scandal.

On his twitter account Thursday, Long tweeted:

Thanks for all your prayers and support! Love you all.

There has been vigorous twitter traffic in discussion of and speculation about the story since it broke. Speculation that Long plans to resign Sunday has been frequent since the fourth suit became public knowledge.

September 25, 2010 - Posted by | children, Churches, Crime | , , , ,

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