The Eddie Long side of the sex scandal case added some defense muscle Thursday when the Bishop’s defense team hired famed private investigator T. J. Ward to help in the investigation into the sex allegations made against the megachurch pastor by four young men last week. T. J. Ward, who became famous as part of the investigation into the notorious Natalee Holloway disappearance in Aruba, told 11 Alive News in Atlanta that he was called in to aid in the allegation investigation by Dwight Thomas, one of Bishop Eddie Long’s attorneys.
“I was called by attorney Dwight Thomas,” Ward told the station. “They said they needed somebody that was experienced in doing investigations to look into these allegations that have been brought against Bishop Eddie Long and the church.”
The megachurch, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is named in the lawsuits brought by the men, as is the affiliated school, Longfellows Youth Academy.
“Each of these charges is frivolous and we plan to address them accordingly,” T. J. Ward said.
Ward also spoke with CBS Atlanta. Although he would not speak to specifics about the case or the plaintiffs, repeating Eddie Long’s legal team’s mantra of not trying the case in the court of public opinion, he said, “This is an attack on Bishop Eddie Long and the church. Our plans are to take each allegation and look into them and behind them and look at the validity.”
T. J. Ward’s job will be to open investigations into the lives of each of the four accusers, dig into their past, and search for any evidence that could undermine their credibility or obviates their allegations.
The sex scandal began when two men, Anthony Flagg and Maurice Murray Robinson, alleged that Bishop Eddie Long had used his position and power of authority to seduce and coerce them into sexual relationships. Within three days, two more men, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrange, would also file lawsuits against Long, his megachurch, and his youth academy.
The men allege that Bishop Eddie Long plied them with gifts, which included money, cars, lavish trips, college tuition, and jewelry, while engaging them in sexual activities. Some of the sexual liaisons allegedly took place on domestic and international trips, but some were alleged to have taken place in Long’s own home and even in the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church itself.
Bishop Long and his spokespeople have all adamantly and categorically denied the allegations. Long told his parishioners Tuesday night that he was now engaged in “spiritual warfare.” In his first address to his congregation on Sunday, he likened himself to the biblical character of David. He said, “I’m going to fight. I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”
T. J. Ward will undoubtedly be the rock gatherer.