The man – Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Murray Robinson, 20 – leveled the allegations in an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday in DeKalb. A spokesperson for Long (photo), pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, strongly denied the allegations in media interviews and said the two men “are not innocent victims.”
“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.
One of the men, Anthony Flagg, 21, alleges in his suit that Long took him on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years.
“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.
The other man, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, claims Long took him 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.
Both plaintiffs said the pastor, his church and church employees gave them cash and lavish gifts that ranged from cars to college tuition.
The suits also said that Long framed the sexual relationships as religious in nature.
The suits allege that Long chose the plaintiffs to be his “Spiritual Sons,” a program that allegedly includes other young men from the church.
The lawsuits are seeking unspecified amounts of punitive damages from Long on various counts, ranging from negligence to breach of fiduciary duty.
The suits allege that various staff members working for Long, his church and the LongFellows Academy “knew of Defendant Long’s sexually inappropriate conduct and did nothing to warn or protect [the plaintiffs].”
In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center called Long “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.” Also in 2007, Soulforce—a national non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating anti-gay rhetoric in all religions—targeted Long and other anti-gay mega-church leaders for discussions about their rhetoric.
In 2006, then-NAACP Chair Julian Bond called Long “a raving homophobe” and refused to attend the funeral of Coretta Scott King being held at Long’s church. King supported marriage equality and HIV issues, and her longtime personal assistant was a gay Atlanta man.
In 2004, Long led a march against same-sex marriage through the streets of downtown Atlanta.