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bishop-eddie

From the AJC.com:

Bishop Eddie Long filed four lengthy responses in DeKalb County State Court on Monday, denying all allegations that he coerced young men into sexual relationships.

In the filings obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Long asked for the four lawsuits to be dismissed and judgment to be entered in his favor.

In September, four young men — Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande — filed suits against Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The young men claimed Long coerced them into having sex with him in exchange for lavish gifts, trips and jobs. In the filings, Long said it has been a practice of his to occasionally share a room with members of his congregation. However, he said “the plaintiff’s claims of sexual misconduct are not true.”

The plaintiffs allege the sexual relations occurred when they were 16 or older. The legal age of consent is 16 in Georgia.

On Monday, Long filed four separate responses, each about 30 pages and denying each accusation point by point. He admitted that he took the men on trips, but he denied the complaints of sexual contact. He did admit to hugging some of the men.

“Bishop Long admits that it is common among his church congregation for members to hug each other and hug the Bishop,” the suit reads.

Long also admitted to giving the plaintiffs gifts, including cars, and helping them financially, but he denied that it was in exchange for sex. He said he has “provided sporadic financial assistance,” and he routinely pays for rent and other expenses for New Birth members, according to the filings.

In the filings, Long also admitted to speaking on the phone with the men, but said he could not recall who initiated the calls. He also admitted that the men called him “Daddy,” “Bishop” and “Granddaddy,” but said many members of his congregation called him similar names.

In his filings, Long said he is a “bold revolutionary spiritual leader,” and Long has built a ministry that places “special emphasis on outreach to men, reinforcing to men the importance of partnering with a ministry that will grow them spiritually.”

Long has requested a status and scheduling conference to discuss a timeline for the case. New Birth still needs to file a response. The 25,000-member church is based in Lithonia, but has satellites in Charlotte and several other locations.

Read the full story here.

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