Update: Bishop Eddie Long Responds In CourtPublished by Torrence Glenn on Monday, November 1, 2010 at 11:19 pm.
I know you probably thought (or hoped) this would go away but how could it? Sure, it got quiet for a little while, but silence has never signaled resolution and it certainly didn’t in this case. Although this whole debacle has been rather disappointing and troubling, for the first time I’m actually pretty sad and angry. Continue reading after the update to understand why.
Earlier today, Bishop Eddie Long filed responses to the 4 civil cases of sexual coercion that were filed against him and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in September by Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande. Essentially, denied all the allegations in the claims.
Bishop Long admits to the more general and harmless claims in the suits such as taking the young men on trips and occasionally even sharing hotel rooms with them; helping them out financially, giving them jobs, cars, etc., talking to them on the phone (even though he claims says he doesn’t remember who initiated the phone calls), that they called him “Daddy” as well as pop, Bishop and Grandaddy among other names. He also admits to hugging them but claims there was never any sexual or inappropriate contact.
The full responses to each claim are about 30 pages long so there’s a lot to dig though. Each original claim along with the responses will be posted at the end of this piece for you to read for yourself. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church who is also named in the suit has still not filed their responses to the claims.
Now for the part that makes me sad. There are areas and pieces of this story that I’ve heard but haven’t discussed for a variety of reasons. The main reason that I haven’t reported them is because the information wasn’t necessarily “public record” and/or to reveal or attempt to confirm it would put sources in some dicey predicaments and perhaps even ruin some relationships so myself and others in the media have remained quiet. I also preferred to let the judicial system take it’s course. I still feel that way but there are some things at this point that unfortunately, the courts may not be able to fix if what I’ve heard (simply heard) is true.
I’ve been told by some very trustworthy sources that there were more than the 4 young men mentioned above who’d possibly be bringing lawsuits soon. I was made aware of 3 more that were being vetted and working with attorneys to figure out the best way to pursue their cases because unlike Flagg, Parris, LeGrande and Robinson, the current personal and professional lives of 2 of them left them in a difficult position to file their claims because of the imminent publicity that would come with it. But today I learned that the 3rd young man (who would have made 7 total) may have committed suicide just last week and his family blames the trauma from his alleged sexual coercion along with the fear and stress of coming forward. This is sad on so many levels and it hurts my heart and my head.
Now I still can’t say or know whether Bishop Long is guilty of any of this and as I’ve always said, this is technically (yes, technically) a legal matter and there are only 4 civil claims against him right now and no more than that. But this is all very upsetting nonetheless and I hope it doesn’t continue to get worse. Stories of suicide always hit me particularly hard and to think there could possibly be one linked to this story is even more disturbing. So with that, I’m going right back where I started with this in that regardless of how this ends, it’s a really awful situation. If Bishop Long is “guilty” it’s a problem for obvious reasons. If he’s innocent, then a group of young men are troubled beyond belief to make up such ugly allegations for no reason. And if it’s somewhere in the middle, it’s still a mess.
I need to go lay down now, my head hurts.