Bishop Eddie Long told his congregation Sept. 26 that he will “fight very vigorously” to defend himself against allegations of sexual misconduct.
In two remarks delivered during two services before his congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., Long, who is being sued for inappropriate sexual conduct by several young men, declined to directly address the allegations contained in four lawsuits against him..
“On the advice of counsel, I am not going to address the allegations and the attacks,” he said in a sermon at the sprawling complex near Atlanta. “I want this to be dealt with in the court of justice not the court of public opinion. I am going to fight. Fight very vigorously. Things New Birth has stood for … we will continue to do.”
“It will be tried in the court of justice and dealt with in the court of justice and please understand because that’s the only place I think I’ll get justice, but being in the hands of God.” he said. “This is difficult, difficult for everybody. This is probably the most difficult time in my entire life.”
“Please hear this. Please hear this: I’ve been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man. But this thing I’m gon’ fight.”
His remarks came on the heels of new allegations revealed Sept. 24 in which a man claimed Long coerced him into a sexual relationship while they were on a trip to Kenya.
All four of the boys, who have filed suit, attended Long’s LongFellows Youth Academy. The academy charges $500 for the four-month program geared toward physical fitness and becoming financially savvy. According to B.J. Bernstein, attorney for two of the boys who’ve filed suit, Long used the camp to exploit vulnerabilities.
“It became a place where the bishop could learn the intimate details about these young men,” Bernstein said. .