Sep 21, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long addresses students of Southwest Dekalb High School  in 1997.
 
 
Damn, I go on vacation and all hell breaks loose! This is a long read but it's definitely interesting!
 
Via AJC:
 


Two DeKalb County men filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging Bishop Eddie Long coerced them to having sex with him in exchange for lavish trips, cars and cash from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The men’s attorney called Long a “sexual predator” and said she is now talking to other potential victims.

“It’s not just these two. There are young men around him at all times,” the men’s attorney B.J. Bernstein said. “There are kids at risk now.”

The victims, Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20, began having inappropriate relations with Long at the age of 16, which is the legal age of consent in Georgia, Bernstein said. Bernstein said she has not contacted DeKalb law enforcement because of Long’s ties to so many DeKalb officials.

Both men filed lawsuits Tuesday against Long and the church, alleging the bishop breached his pastoral duty.

While Long likely cannot be charged with a crime in Georgia because the men consented, he could faces charges in other states, Bernstein said. The sex acts occurred while the men were between the ages of 16 and 20, the suit alleges.

The attorney said she has asked the FBI to investigate allegations that Long had sex with the men in hotels in New York, Dallas, Tennessee, New Zealand and other areas.

Long took Flagg to New Zealand for his 18th birthday, where his “gift” was sodomy, Bernstein said.

In separate trips, the men flew on Long’s personal jet and shared a bed with him at the hotels, Bernstein said. Long used the alias “Dick Tracy” when he checked into the hotel, the suit alleges.

However, the bulk of the relations occurred on the mega church’s property, including inside Long’s “guest house” on Snapfinger Road in south DeKalb

“A hug turned into a kiss and a kiss turned into something else,” Bernstein said. “This occurred at the church, which reinforces how absolutely negligent and sick and abusive this is.”

Flagg and Robinson’s parents both moved to DeKalb specifically to attend Newbirth. The two men met while enrolled in the church’s Longfellow Academy, which is for teenage boys age 14-17.

While at the academy, Flagg and Robinson developed relationships with Long, Bernstein said. They began spending more time with him and were placed on the church’s payroll, the suit alleges.

By the time they turned 16, Long began taking them on separate trips and inviting them to his home, Bernstein said. At one point, Flagg and Long held a private “marriage-like” ceremony where they exchanged vows, Bernstein said.

In exchange for Flagg’s love, Long bought the teenager a Ford Mustang, the suit alleges.

Robinson received other gifts, including introductions to T.I. Chris Tucker, Tyler Perry and other celebrities who met with Long, Bernstein said. The bishop also let Robinson drive his Bentley.

Bernstein said she has emails, text messages and photographs between the men and Long.

“The bishop used biblical verses to coerce them. He out front being homophobic and making all these remarks when at the same time, he is leading a double life,” Bernstein said. “They [the plaintiffs] aren’t gay. They just wanted to be loved and cared for by a powerful man.”

In June, Robinson was charged with breaking into Long’s home, stealing jewelry, an iPad and other items. Flagg may also be involved, Bernstein said.

Robinson committed the burglary in retaliation after learning that Long was involved with other men, including Flagg, Bernstein said.

“He lashed out,” Bernstein said. “But if it weren’t for that act, we wouldn’t know about this. He talked to his friends and learned Long had other ‘spiritual sons.’”

Bernstein said the church is named in the suit because several other members were aware of the allegations and “protected” Long.

Bernstein, a former child abuse prosecutor, is a criminal defense attorney in Decatur. She also represents former DeKalb schools official Pat Reid, who is charged with running a criminal enterprise at the school system, and Genarlow Wilson.

In June, DeKalb County police arrested two men, Anthony Boyd, 19, of Decatur, and Maurice Robinson, 20, and charged them with burglary, according to the police report obtained by the AJC.

A security camera at the church on Woodrow Road in Lithonia caught most of it on videotape.

Two men wearing dark hooded shirts, dark pants and white gloves were recorded using a key to enter the church during the night between June 13 and 14.

The men’s attorney B.J. Bernstein, said Robinson committed the burglary in retaliation after learning that Long was involved with other men, including Flagg, Bernstein said.

“He lashed out,” Bernstein said. “But if it weren’t for that act, we wouldn’t know about this. He talked to his friends and learned Long had other ‘spiritual sons.’”

Long was named 21 years ago as pastor of the then 300-member church that would become New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

It has expanded beyond its Lithonia home and has satellite churches in other cities. The 240-acre Lithonia campus is like a small town; the church claims 25,000 members and promotes a myriad of ministries, such as the annual Hosea Feed the Hungry and help for the homeless and addicted.

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