A war of words has erupted between both sides of the controversial sex case against metro Atlanta megachurch bishop Eddie Long.
An attorney representing the embattled New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor has accused the four young men who have filed lawsuits claiming sexual impropriety – and their lawyer – of “attempting to try their lawsuits in the media.” The accusations from Long’s lawyer Craig Gillen follow the airing of WAGA-TV’s interview Tuesday night with Jamal Parris.
In a statement Gillen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “There are rules on how civil litigation is to take place and how counsel should conduct themselves, we intend to follow those rules.” In the taped interview outside a Colorado grocery store Parris said that he loved the Lithonia pastor but now considers him “a monster.” B.J. Bernstein, an attorney for the plaintiffs, has said that she did not authorize the interview. “This man manipulated us from childhood,” Parris said. “This was our father and we loved him.”
Parris, along with Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson and Spencer LeGrande, filed separate civil lawsuits this month against the bishop. They assert that while still in their teens, Long used his power and influence to coerce them into having sexual relations with him. They claim that Long lured them with promises of money, cars, clothing and expensive jewelry. Originally, only three of the men had filed lawsuits. The fourth went public only after the media announcement of the first three suits. A church spokesman says Long adamantly denies the allegations. Photos of Long, one of the plaintiffs says he sent to him, show the bishop taking photos of himself in a bathroom dressed in workout attire.
Long, reportedly did not directly address the sexual allegations made against him during services at the church Tuesday night, according to the AJC. A group of 32 ministers attended the service to pray with Long and show their support. Parris told WAGA reporter Dale Russell that he’d reached out to the bishop privately before filing suit but Long “turned his back on us when he had no more need for us. That’s not a man. That’s a predator.”
Added Parris: “I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head,” he said. “I cannot forget the smell of his cologne. And I cannot forget the way that he made me cry many nights when I drove in his car on the way home, not able to take enough showers to wipe the smell of him off of my body.”
Long addressed the media and his 25,000-member congregation for the first time Sunday. In his sermon Long vowed to fight the allegations waged against him and compared himself to “David standing against Goliath.”