Rolling Out Magazine: One day after a statehouse rally in Georgia demanded Bishop Eddie L. Long’s resignation due to alleged sexual improprieties, the mega-church pastor asked the court to toss out the lawsuits.

Bishop Long says he did give gifts, cars and paid for teenage men’s living expenses but denied he had ulterior motives such as coercing them into gay sex.On Monday, Nov. 1, Bishop Long, the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta, filed a legal response to each of the four lawsuits filed against him by four young men.

Long requested that the four lawsuits be dismissed and judgment be entered in his favor.

In September, four young men — Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande — filed suits against Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The young men claimed Long coerced them into having sex with him in exchange for lavish gifts, trips and jobs.

Bishop Eddie Long filed four lengthy responses, each about 30 pages long, denying each accusation point by point. He admitted that he took the men on trips, but 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, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Long said he did give the plaintiffs gifts, including cars, and helped 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.

“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 the filings.

Long also said in the filings in Dekalb County State Court that he is a “bold revolutionary spiritual leader [who places] special emphasis on outreach to men, reinforcing to men the importance of partnering with a ministry that will grow them spiritually.”
–terry shropshire

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