Bishop Eddie Long can deny that he coerced four young men into sexual relationships all he wants……but it looks like New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is pretty much staying out of it!
Monday (Nov 8), the Lithonia, Georgia mega-church responded to the four lawsuits brought against Long and acknowledge that the young men accompanied their pastor on trips….but said that they can neither confirm nor deny that sexual misconduct took place. The church’s mentoring program for boys aged 13 – 18 (The LongFellows Youth Academy, which is named in 3 of the lawsuits) also filed responses, with Long being identified as the chief executive of the academy.
In the responses, which were filed by Atlanta law firm Drew Eckl Farnham, New Birth says that Anthony Flagg, one of the accusers, traveled on trips to Alabama, New York City and Las Vegas with Long, but wasn’t able to provide any further information. The church also said that that they can’t “admit or deny” allegations that the two were intimate.
“The church understands that Bishop Long often shared hotel rooms with members of the congregation while traveling,” New Birth said in the response without confirming whether Flagg actually shared a room with Long.
Last week, Bishop Eddie Long filed his own response (30 pages EACH) calling the plaintiffs’ allegations false. The bishop categorically denied each and every accusation, 1 by 1 in the court filings, in which he claimed that he was simply a “mentor” to the young men who filed suits against him and New Birth back in September.
“Bishop Long admits that he mentors many young men from challenged backgrounds who have often been without the benefit of a male role model,” Long’s statement read.
He admitted that he took the young men on trips, but denied claims of sexual misconduct. He also admitted to helping the plaintiffs financially and giving them gifts (including cars). He said he has “provided sporadic financial assistance,” and it’s very common for him to help New Birth members with rent and other necessary expenses.
In the filings, Long also admitted to having phone conversations with the men, but said that he couldn’t remember who initiated the calls. He also admitted that it was common for the men to call him “Daddy,” “Bishop” and “Granddaddy” while making it a point to mention that his church members call him similar names.
Now that Bishop Long, the church and the youth academy have ALL responded to the lawsuits, it’s interesting to see what’s coming up next!