Officials at both the Dekalb County Police Department and the Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there is no active criminal investigation into the sexual coercion allegations filed last week against Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. B. J. Bernstein, the attorney representing the four men who filed lawsuits last week also told the newspaper that there would be no new lawsuits filed on Tuesday. It would appear that the Eddie Long sex scandal is in a sort of hiatus.
Except that the U. S. Attorney’s Office does not comment on whether or not it is actively investigating cases. And there seems to be a problem in the burglary case against one of the plaintiffs.
The Dekalb County Attorney’s Office is going ahead with the burglary case against Maurice Murray Robinson, who was the second young man to claim that he was coerced into a sexual relationship with Long. Robinson was arrested in June for burglarizing Long’s office and taking several items, such as an iPod, an iPad, and jewelry. The former District Attorney, Gwen Keyes-Fleming, was visited by Bishop Long and asked if the charges might be dropped.
He was refused.
Although such requests are not uncommon, especially when the victim of a burglary discovers who the burglar was (and recognizes them), the case became problematic when the District Attorney’s Office heard allegations that there had been another person involved in the burglary — a person that wasn’t charged.
That person was allegedly Anthony Flagg, the first young man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual coercion at the hands of Bishop Eddie Long. Prosecutors are looking into whether or not Flagg may have been given special consideration.
Assistant District Attorney Don Geary told the Journal-Constitution that there had been no special treatment and the acting district attorney was readying to move forward on the burglary charge against Maurice Robinson.
B. J. Bernstein explained Maurice Robinson’s burglary as an act of retaliation against Bishop Eddie Long when he discovered that he (Robinson) wasn’t the “only one” with whom Long had been having a sexual relationship.
According to the number of lawsuits filed in Dekalb County last week, the number would appear to be at least three others, if the allegations are true. Besides Anthony Flagg and Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande also filed lawsuit alleging sexual coercion.
Bishop Eddie Long, one of the most prominent and influential black religious figures in the United States, has vehemently denied the allegations. In his first service since the sex scandal broke, Long told the congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday that he would fight the allegations.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and its ministries reach a worldwide audience. Bishop Eddie Long built the church from a few hundred parishioners to a 30,000-member Atlanta megachurch with branch churches in various cities. New Birth also operates schools and its charitable works include building hospitals and hospices in Africa.
The sex scandal has rocked not only the Atlanta religious community but the nation’s Christian community as well. Given Eddie Long’s history of anti-gay movement and anti-gay marriage sermonizing, the most surprising aspect to most is that the allegations have been leveled by young men.