Nov 1, 2010



Bishop Eddie Long filed four lengthy responses in DeKalb County State Court on Monday, denying all allegations that he coerced young men into sexual relationships.

On Monday, Long filed four separate responses, each about 30 pages and denying each accusation point by point. He admitted that he took the men on trips, but he denied the complaints of sexual contact. He did admit to hugging some of the men.

"Bishop Long admits that it is common among his church congregation for members to hug each other and hug the Bishop," the suit reads.

Long also admitted to giving the plaintiffs gifts, including cars, and helping them financially, but he denied that it was in exchange for sex. He said he has "provided sporadic financial assistance," and he routinely pays for rent and other expenses for New Birth members, according to the filings.

In the filings, Long also admitted to speaking on the phone with the men, but said he could not recall who initiated the calls. He also admitted that the men called him "Daddy," "Bishop" and "Granddaddy," but said many members of his congregation called him similar names.

"Bishop Long admits that he mentors many young men from challenged backgrounds who have often been without the benefit of a male role model," according to his filings.

In his filings, Long said he is a "bold revolutionary spiritual leader," and Long has built a ministry that places "special emphasis on outreach to men, reinforcing to men the importance of partnering with a ministry that will grow them spiritually."

Long has requested a status and scheduling conference to discuss a timeline for the case. New Birth still needs to file a response. The 25,000-member church is based in south DeKalb County, but has satellites in Charlotte and several other locations.

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