|3rd Lawsuit Filed against Bishop Long in Sex Scandal
Sex Offender Issues
September 22, 2010
A third lawsuit accusing Bishop Eddie Long of sexual abuse was filed Wednesday in DeKalb County, Channel 2 Action News confirmed.
The plaintiff, identified as Jamal Paris, is represented by Attorney B.J. Bernstein, the same attorney representing the first two men who came forward accusing the Atlanta-area megachurch pastor of coercing them into a sexual relationship.
The latest lawsuit filed on behalf of Paris contains similar complaints against the bishop, said Bernstein. In the suit, Paris details how Long allegedly gave him his personal cell phone number two weeks after they first met. Paris also alleged that Long encouraged him to call him daddy. According to the suit, Paris’ father had not been a positive figure in his life.
In the suit, Paris said he later became Long’s personal assistant, and that Long would ask him to remain in his private office after church, where Long allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with Paris.
Since the lawsuits went public, Bernstein said her office has taken several calls and believes that there are other victims. Bernstein said she opened her investigation after getting a call from one of the men.
The first two lawsuits against the prominent Atlanta-area bishop were filed on Tuesday.
In the lawsuits, the men accuse Long of sexually abusing them, as well as several other young male church members and employees.
The lawsuits also name New Birth Missionary Baptist Church at 6400 Woodrow Road in Lithonia as a defendant.
The plaintiffs, Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg, claim that Long used his position as a spiritual counselor and leader to take the young men on trips out of state, where he allegedly performed sexual acts with them.
At a news conference Tuesday, Bernstein told reporters that the alleged abuse occurred when the plaintiffs were 17 and 18 years old. They are now 20 and 21 years old.
Bernstein described Long's relationship with the boys as odd.
"It was essentially a marriage ceremony where there were candles, (an) exchange of jewelry and biblical quotes given," said Bernstein.
During the conference, Bernstein also revealed that one of the plaintiffs was arrested in connection with a June 13 burglary at New Birth. Channel 2 first reported details of the break in, in which DeKalb police said two men wearing dark hooded tops and white gloves broke into Long's office and made off with high-end electronics, including Long’s iPad and jewelry.
Bernstein said she expects Long’s attorneys to bring up that arrest when addressing the abuse allegations.
“Maurice (Robinson) immediately told what he did when he was confronted about it. He returned the black diamonds, the gold, the things that he had in the bishop’s office,” Bernstein said.
“As bad as it is, if it weren’t for that act, I don’t know if we would have known about this because this young man exploded and realized that when he talked to his friends, he wasn’t the only one,” said Bernstein. “Bishop Long had other spiritual sons who had other relationships with him. It made him angry and confused and combusted in lashing out at the bishop in the only way possible.”
According to the lawsuit, Flagg said Long shared a bedroom on overnight trips and engaged in intimate sexual contact with him. He said Long was also involved in advising and counseling him in areas of his personal life, the lawsuit states.
A spokesman for Long told Channel 2 Action News that Long denies the allegations.
A statement released by Craig Gillen, attorney for Long, said, “Bishop Eddie Long adamantly denies the allegations. It is unfortunate that the two young men have chosen to take this course of action. We are reviewing the complaints and will respond accordingly.”
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