4th man: Bishop Eddie Long coerced me into sex

Add this share

READ MORE | Atlanta activist takes Eddie Long’s ‘cult’ to task

READ MORE | Eddie Long calls charges false; photos emerge

READ MORE | Eddie Long: Young man, you can call me ‘Daddy’

READ MORE | Eddie Long accused of coercing men into sex

READ IT | View the lawsuits filed by Robinson, Flagg and Parris

imageAs anti-gay Bishop Eddie Long prepares to address his congregation twice on Sunday, a fourth young man is suing over allegations that he was coerced by Long into having sex with him.

Spencer LeGrande, who lives in Charlotte and is a member of New Birth Charlotte, alleged in a lawsuit that Long provided him with a sleeping pill on a 2005 trip to Kenya and the pair had sex. His lawsuit alleges that Long convinced LeGrande that “engaging in a sexual relationship was a healthy component of his spiritual life,” according to the Associated Press, which first reported the fourth lawsuit Friday.

Long, who skipped a planned radio appearance on Thursday and canceled a news conference, is scheduled to address the allegations on Sunday during services at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. The head of the 25,000-member New Birth Baptist Church in Lithonia faces allegations from four young men that he used his influence at the church to coerce the men into having sex.

Attorneys for Long issued a statement Friday after the fourth lawsuit was filed, according to CNN: “Our position about the lawsuits has not changed. Bishop Long categorically denies the charges.”

The men—Jamal Parris, 23, Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, and now 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.

Late Wednesday, the attorney for the three men, B.J. Bernstein, released two images of Long dressed in form-fitting clothing and snapping photos of himself in a bathroom. Bernstein says the images (top photo) – similar to ones found on the gay-popular website Guys With iPhones – were sent to young men who attended Longfellows Youth Academy, a New Birth program for young men ages 13 to 18.

Parris says in his lawsuit that Long encouraged him to call him “Daddy.”

In a statement issued Thursday, Long asked “for your prayers for me, my family and our church. On Sunday at New Birth, I will respond to my congregation.”

“I have been through storms and my faith has always sustained me,” Long said in the statement. “I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations and I will do so. However, my lawyer counseled patience at this time. Let me be clear, the charges against me and New Birth are false. These false allegations hurt me deeply. But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask is for your patience as I deny each and every one of these false allegations.”

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.


Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...