The Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal has reached a lull before the beleaguered popular evangelist addresses his congregation about the sexual coercion allegations that have been leveled at him by four young men in the past week. In four days, according to the Associated Press, four men allegedly associated with pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia have come forward and accused the nationally prominent and vocally anti-gay Bishop of sexual misconduct. Whether it is because it is Saturday and another lawsuit will not be able to be filed until Monday or because four will be the final count of accusers is unknown, but there is appears to be a weekend respite for Eddie Long and his megachurch — except in the media. And the two most salient questions seem to be: Are the allegations true and how many more young men will come forward?
Bishop Eddie Long, either through himself or through spokespeople and the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church website, has categorically and adamantly denied all the allegations thus far. But denial does not carry the weight of veracity, even if the denying is done by a man who is supposed to be above reproach. And then there is the opposite side of that coin — Eddie Long may be telling the truth and all the allegations against him and the megachurch may have been contrived.
But that does not stop the sex scandal from growing. With each word said, each word written, each audio and video clip played, the sex scandal continues to build. Fueled by uncertainty, doubt, incredulity, speculation, and the history of other evangelists that have stained their good reputations via scandal — whether of a sexual nature or not — and initially lied before the truth became known, the Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal will not go away soon. And Eddie Long may have a long legal battle on his hands…
It isn’t even known if the four men who have come forward with allegations against the Bishop will be the only men who seek some for of litigious satisfaction. B. J. Bernstein, lawyer for all the men involved thus far, has given the impression in her public statements that she has spoken with several other men regarding sexual misconduct with Eddie Long — but has been quick to note that she doesn’t know how many will eventually add their voices in lawsuits.
But, then, allegations, insinuations, and implications do not necessarily need a legal filing to be leveled…
As the public has learned from the recent celebrity sex scandals of Tiger Woods and Jesse James, the number of persons making allegations can seem to reach unbelievable numbers — and those are just the ones that make headlines and/or tell their stories. Those whose names became known stand out, but there were others who were alluded to and others who reportedly refused to come forward.
The Atlanta megachurch sex scandal started Tuesday when Bernstein announced that two young men, Anthony Flagg and Maurice Murray Robinson, had filed lawsuits alleging that they had been sexually coerced into a relationship with Long. On Thursday, Jamal Parris added his name to the list of plaintiffs. Friday saw a fourth lawsuit — Spencer LeGrande. All plaintiffs spoke of Long using his spiritual authority and position as leader of the church to influence them. Long allegedly took them on domestic and international trips and showered them with gifts, including cars, cash, and college tuition. The allegations in the lawsuits also accused megachurch members and employees of openly participating in the pastor’s proclivities.
So how many more men will step out and accuse the Bishop? That is as yet unknown. But what is known is that, no matter how many denials he makes or even if he wins the lawsuits (or settles them out of court), Bishop Eddie Long’s name will forever be associated with a gay sex scandal.
That only took the voice of one man…