Settlement talks with Bishop Eddie Long Stalled

13 May

Bishop Eddie Long gracing the cover of popular gospel magazine causes quite a stir

The settlement negotiations in lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long were speeding along but appear top have stalled.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia is still facing liability for allegedly coercing four young men into having sexual relations with the megachurch leader.

Last year,  Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris, Anthony Flagg and Spencer LeGrande sued Long, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and the LongFellows Youth Academy, alleging sexual misconduct on the part of the bishop. The four allege that Long took them on trips and gave them expensive gifts in turn for sexual favors.

On September 21 and 22, 2010, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, and Jamal Parris filed separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court alleging that Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him. In June, one of the accusers, Robinson, was arrested and charged with burglary in connection with a break-in to Long’s office. An iPhone, iPad and other items—more than $1,300 worth—were taken from the office, according to the police report. On September 24, Spencer LeGrande, a member of a New Birth satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a similar suit, making him the fourth man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual misconduct by Long.

The plaintiffs state that Long placed the men on the church’s payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, and took them separately on trips to destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad, Honduras, New Zealand, and New York City. The lawsuits read “Long would discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity.” Flagg’s suit claims that Long presided over a “covenant” ceremony between the two of them. Flagg’s attorney said “it was essentially a marriage ceremony, with candles, exchange of jewelry, and biblical quotes.”

The parties have been involved in mediation.

The judge,  Hon. Johnny Panos, told a local news station in Atlanta that he is scheduling trial for late summer, the TV station reported Thursday. The threat of a trial appears to conflict with an earlier statement by the court.

Around Easter, Panos said that the major obstacles to settlement had been resolved and that the parties were discussing the minutiae.

The mediator in the case is Gino Brogdon, a former Fulton County Superior Court judge, according to Panos. Mediation is alternative to a trial, which can be costly and lengthy. Their outcomes are also uncertain going into proceedings.

Art Franklin, the church’s  spokesman declined to comment when reached by the AJC on Thursday.

According to Blackvoices, Long’s target audience- black Christians,  are not happy that Bishop Long,  feeling that he has been given what they see as,’preferential treatment’ while ‘down-playing the charges against him.

This is not Long’s first brush with the law. On August 28, 2005 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that during the period between 1997 to 2000, Long received more than $3.07 million worth of compensation and benefits from his eponymous non-profit charity, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc. Long contended that the charity did not solicit donations from members but instead gained its income from royalties, speaking fees and several large donations. In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley announced an investigation into the tax-exempt status of six ministries under the leadership of Benny Hinn, Paula White,  Eddie L. Long, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland by the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

As far as the sexual allegations, Long has denied the allegations through his attorneys and spokesman, and said, “I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply,” he said. “But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask for is your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges.”

2 Responses to “Settlement talks with Bishop Eddie Long Stalled”

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