READ MORE | Our full coverage of Bishop Eddie Long’s sex scandal
READ THE LAWSUITS | Robinson, Flagg, Parris, LeGrande
One of the four men who has accused anti-gay megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long of coercing them into sexual relationships spoke publicly, calling Long a “monster” that he can never forgive.
Jamal Parris (top photo) spoke to Fox 5 reporter Dale Russell, the first time any of Long’s accusers have spoken publicly since filing the lawsuits in DeKalb County last week. Parris, in the interview, repeatedly referred to Long (bottom photo) as dad and a father figure that he loved, while expressing his rage over the alleged sexual affair.
“I love him for [being a dad]. But at the same time, for what he did to me and taught me and how I see the world, I will never be able to forgive him for that,” Parris says. “You end up turning into something you never thought you would be, which is now a slave to the man that you love.”
Four men —Parris, 23, Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, and Spencer LeGrande, 22 – say Long started having sex with them when they were as young as 16. The intimate contact – which included kissing, massaging, masturbating and oral sex – sometimes took place at Long’s residence and in hotels during trips across the U.S. and the globe, according to the lawsuits.
Parris says in his lawsuit that Long encouraged him to call him “Daddy.”
On Sunday, Long spoke publicly abut the lawsuits for the first time, defiantly defending himself but stopping short of calling the accusations false in a 20-minute appearance.
“Please hear this: I have been accused. I am under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man but this thing, I’m gonna fight,” Long said from the pulpit at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. “I want you to know one other thing, I feel like David against Goliath but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”
Parris says Tuesday that being around Long, “it’s almost like a drug.” He didn’t stop the sexual relationship over fears that he would lose Long’s love and financial support.
“This man manipulated us from childhood. This was our father and we loved him. This man turned his back on us when he had no more need for us. That’s not a father; that’s a predator,” Parris says.
“I cannot get the sound of his voice out of his head and I cannot forget the smell of his cologne. I was not able to take enough showers to get the smell of him off of my body,” he adds. “You are not a man, you are a monster.”
The attorney for Parris and the other accusers, B.J. Bernstein, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she did not authorize the interview.
Also Tuesday, some 20 pastors were scheduled to gather for a week-long prayer for Long.