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|Third lawsuit filed against Eddie Long today|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|September 22, 2010 14:36|
A third lawsuit was filed today against Eddie Long, head of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, accusing the leader of the megachurch of sexual coercion.
Two lawsuits with similar allegations were filed yesterday. The lawsuits are all filed in DeKalb County State Court.
Jamal Parris, 23, is named as the plaintiff in the third lawsuit. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He and his mother joined the church in 2001 when Parris was 14.
In the lawsuit, Parris alleges Long encouraged him to call him “Daddy.” During 2004-2005, Parris spent time alone with Long in a guesthouse of the megachurch on Snapfinger Road.
“Initially, Defendant Long engaged in sexual touching during their encounters and then escalated the activity to oral sodomy and other acts of sexual gratification,” the lawsuit states. "Defendant Long would discuss the Holy Scripture to justify the sexual activity."
Long has adamantly denied all charges.
The lawsuit further states that by the end of 2009, Parris had a girlfriend and distanced himself from Long. Parris also left the church at the end of 2009, according to the suit, and was "disillusioned, confused, and angry about his relationship with Defendant Long."
"In or about June 2010, Plaintiff Parris reached out to other Spiritual Sons of Defendant Long, believing they too had submitted to Bishop Long's religious rituals and sexual abuse," the suit says.
"Spiritual Sons" were those young men selected by Long to be part of select group that would travel with him as well as be paid by the church, the suit says. Part of becoming a Spiritual Son was taking part in a "Covenant Ceremony" where Long would exchange gifts including jewelry with the young men, oftentimes teenagers at the time, and Long would explain a sexual relationship was part of having a "God-like connection" between "master" and "sons."
Other allegations made in the lawsuit: Long's "Spiritual Sons" are taken by public and private jets to U.S. and international destinations, "housed in luxury hotels and given access to numerous celebrities including entertainment stars and politicians."
The suit states Long went on trips with Parris to Dallas, Houston, New York as well as Honduras, Trinidad and Nassau.
"On these trips and in private meetings at the Bishop's private office located inside New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and the Snapfinger Road Guest House, Bishop Eddie Long engaged in oral sodomy, sexual massages, requested Plaintiff Parris to be nude in his presence, and engaged in other sexual activity with Plaintiff Parris," the suit further states.
The three lawsuits name Long as defendant as well as New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and the church's Longfellows Youth Academy.
The suits have been filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by lawyers BJ Bernstein of The Bernstein Firm, Jay Sadd of the law firm of Slappey and Sadd, and Katherine V. Hernacki of The Hernacki Law Firm.
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