Magazine article The Christian Century

Prominent Atlanta Pastor Named in Four Abuse Suits

Magazine article The Christian Century

Prominent Atlanta Pastor Named in Four Abuse Suits

Article excerpt

Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta-area preacher facing charges from four young men that he coerced them to have sex, told his congregation September 26 he is "under attack" and will fight the allegations against him.

"I've been accused," Long told the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. "I'm under attack. I want you to know ... I am not a perfect man but this thing I'm going to fight."

Four men, all in their early 20s, filed suits alleging that the 57-year-old Long used his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relationships. The men said Long gave them gifts of cash, cars and overnight trips.

The first three suits claimed that Long celebrates a ceremony with victims involving jewelry and talk of Bible verses, creating a covenant in which they are designated as his "spiritual sons."

The fourth suit, filed September 24, alleges that Long paid for shopping sprees and tuition for a 22-year-old with whom he had a sexual relationship. …

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