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|[Updated] Eddie Long sexual misconduct lawsuit 'will be dismissed'|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|May 26, 2011 14:09|
Bishop Eddie Long, head of megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has apparently decided to settle lawsuits brought by four young men who alleged he sexually coerced them as teens.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that the attorney for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellow Academy, also named in the lawsuits, said the lawsuits “will be dismissed, with prejudice, by close of business tomorrow.”
On Thursday, a "Resolution Statement" was posted on New Birth's website that read:
"After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.
"As is usually the case when civil lawsuits resolve out of court, we cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential.
"This resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel."
In a statement from the attorney representing the the four male clients:
"Regarding the lawsuits filed against Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Baptist Church and the Longfellow Academy, plaintiffs' attorney BJ Bernstein's only comment is as follows: 'The matter has been resolved.'
"Neither attorney Bernstein nor the plaintiffs themselves will be available for interview on this matter, now or in the future. There is no spokesperson for the plaintiffs' team other than attorney Bernstein, and she will have no further comment on the case."
The lawsuits against Long were filed in September by Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande. Long denied all accusations in court documents.
The accusations against Long were somewhat shocking to many because of Long's strong anti-gay views, including a ministry as part of his church that works to "convert" gay people. Long also led a march through the streets of Atlanta against gay marriage as well as other for other issues, including health care.
Many LGBT leaders decried the apparent hypocrisy of Long and said the allegations against him, if true, would "blow the hinges of the church's doors."
Civil rights icon Julian Bond skipped Coretta Scott King's funeral because it was held at New Birth. He said because of her progressive views on LGBT equality and Long being a "raving homophobe" he knew he could not be there.
On Sept. 26, days after the lawsuits were filed, a defiant Long addressed a packed church of some 8,000 supporters and said, "There have been allegations and attacks made on me. I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man, but I am not the man that is being portrayed on the television," Long said to cheers from the congregation. "That is not me."
“I have been accused. I am under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man, but this thing I’m gon’ fight,” Long added.
Top photo: Bishop Eddie Long (publicity photo)
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