Sex Tugs at Persons of the Cloth

The Gleaner
October 17, 2010

The Reverend Dr Paul Lewis and Bishop Eddie Long currently have much more in common than their gender and faith in the Lord. In the United States, Long, outspoken head of the Atlanta-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is facing sexual coercion lawsuits filed by a quartet of male church members and employees. Allegations are that Long targeted particular church members and used his position of authority as leader to coerce them into a sexual relationship.

In Jamaica, Lewis' latest court appearance in his sex case, where he is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl, was last Monday.

Prosecutors are alleging that last June, Lewis met the 15-year-old at a church convention in Little London, Westmoreland. After reportedly exchanging telephone numbers with her, there was further contact and Lewis took the girl and her 14-year-old friend to Clarendon. On returning to Westmoreland, Lewis and the girls stayed at a hotel in Negril, and that night, the alleged sexual encounter happened, the 14-year-old watching.

While the outcome of these cases is to be determined, there are world-renowned men of the cloth who have slipped publicly on sexual matters. Among them is American televangelist Jimmy Swaggart who delivered his famous 'I Have Sinned' speech on February 21, 1988, after being accused of involvement with a prostitute, and in 1991 was caught by the police in the company of another prostitute.

Sex continues to be an issue in the Church, in the congregation, and in the pulpit, and today, The Sunday Gleaner takes a look from multiple pastors' perspectives.

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