[UPDATE] Georgia Mega-Church Leader's Troubles

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

[UPDATE] 10-15 9:59AM --

Lithonia, Georgia (AP) --

A former employee of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church says in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed there.

The plaintiff, Tama Colson, says in the federal lawsuit that a
male supervisor showed her a picture of a male sex organ last
October.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, October 13, says the man became her supervisor earlier this year and began a "campaign of torment," and that she was demoted when she complained and eventually was fired.

Art Franklin, a spokesman for the church, said in a statement
that New Birth requires employees to report abuse within 48 hours
and that Colson did not complain until August. He says an
investigation has begun.

Long is not named in the lawsuit. He's facing lawsuits by four
men who claim he coerced them into sexual relations.

--------------------------------------

[UPDATE] 10-12 8:30AM --

Decatur, Georgia (AP) --

Bishop Eddie Long is being sued over a business deal involving a gym in Jonesboro.

The lawsuit filed Monday, Oct. 11 in DeKalb County says Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and two business partners
arranged to buy Hoops N' Fitness in Jonesboro in 2007.

The seller filed suit last year, claiming that none of the debt
had been paid.

On Monday, the mortgage company, State Bank and Trust and the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. filed suit against Long and his
partners.

The new suit alleges the three parties owe $1.86 million on the
defaulted loan, along with $32,000 in interest.

Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, says he's unfamiliar with the
lawsuit and has no comment.

-----------------------------------

[UPDATE] 9-27 3:15PM --

Despite allegations that he lured four young men into sexual relationships, many of Bishop Eddie Long's followers remain unwavering in their support for him as he pledges to fight the accusations like David fighting Goliath.

Casting himself as the Bible's ultimate underdog, Long went
before thousands of faithful supporters at his megachurch on Sunday, Sept. 26 outside Atlanta and promised to battle claims that surfaced in
lawsuits last week that he abused his "spiritual authority."

Long's brief addresses to the congregation at New Birth
Missionary Baptist Church were met with thunderous applause and an
outpouring of support during the services. The sanctuary was nearly
filled to its 10,000-seat capacity for both the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
services.

Long came onto the stage amid wild cheers and shouts of, "We
love you bishop!"

Long says he realized people had been waiting on him to speak since four young men filed lawsuits accusing him of luring them into the relationships with gifts and travel.

-------------------------------------

[UPDATE] 9-24 2:11PM --

Bishop Eddie Long's boys' academy guided teens through their "masculine journey" with lessons on financial discipline and sexual control, right down to a little card the students had to carry in their wallets reminding them why they shouldn't have sex.

Long himself, though, has been accused of contradicting those
virtues.

The bishop has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage in the
past. He's being sued by two young men who attended the Long Fellows Youth Academy and say Long used the program to groom them for sexual relationships.

The men, who were 17 and 18 at the time, say Long recruited them
for the academy after they joined New Birth Missionary Baptist
Church and lured them into trysts with cars, jewelry and cash.

Long and his attorney have denied all the accusations, with Long
remaining largely silent. On Sunday, September 26 he will speak publicly to his congregation at church for the first time since the lawsuits were filed.

--------------------------------------------------

Atlanta, Georgia (AP) --

An attorney representing two men accusing an Atlanta-area mega-church pastor of coercing them into a sexual relationship says her law office is broadening the investigation.

B.J. Bernstein says her office is taking calls and believes
there are other victims. She says she opened her investigation
after getting a call from one of the men.

Lawyers for the men, now 20 and 21, said they filed the lawsuit
yesterday against Bishop Eddie Long. The Associated Press generally
doesn't identify people who they say were victims of sexual
impropriety.

Craig Gillen, Long's attorney, says the pastor "categorically
denies the allegations."

Although the relationships started when the plaintiffs were past
the legal age of consent in Georgia -- which is 16 -- Bernstein
says Long abused his "spiritual authority" to coerce her clients
into engaging in sexual acts.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by ShameShame Location: GA on Oct 17, 2010 at 05:46 AM
    Everyone wants to dip into the piggy bank. I hate the whole new structure of the present day church. The $ has replaced the spiritual search and greed has simply eroded church people to a sickening level. From the parking lot to the pulpit to the collection plate, the whole deal is money centered. New Birth is the first big fish to get caught in the mess but other churches will soon follow. Sex follows greed most of the time too. People have corrupted picture phones with vulgarity and it's not surprising that this electronic demon has also entered the church.
  • by rob Location: tally on Oct 15, 2010 at 09:52 AM
    God is mans way to control those who are unable to think for themselves. Even the church (including the Pope) judges others....we thinkers call you hypocrits for that!
  • by HMA on Oct 12, 2010 at 07:25 PM
    If this Man Of God who made $millions off of his flock turns out to be a liar, homosexual and crook, he should get the hottest part of hell.
  • by bishop Location: los angeles on Sep 29, 2010 at 05:09 PM
    Did someone say pray. The sheep should have prayed when they appointed this wolf as their leader.
  • by HMA on Sep 27, 2010 at 07:28 PM
    Christine, "We need to be very careful as to who we put our mouth on" was not a good choice of words for your point on this story. It was good for a laugh though. If this guy turns out to be homosexual, how many of his supporters will stay?
  • by Roz Location: America on Sep 27, 2010 at 03:48 PM
    What is hilarious to me right now is the very people that continue to get on here and say God is the judge(which is abolutely the TRUTH and NOTHING but the TRUTH), but as they type these comments they are judging. Pretending that what they are saying is not the same as judging. If you are going to ask/warn others about judging this situation or any other, why don't you start with yourself. We are all guilty at one point or another of judging something/someone. That is exactly why we are leaving comments, because of that every fact. We are judging someone elses thoughts/comments/ideals, etc. Which point are you making? Don't judge period or don't judge certain situations/people? I need to get this straight in my head, because I'm truly not getting it.
  • by Elaine Location: Maryland on Sep 27, 2010 at 02:56 PM
    First let me say that Prayer needs to go beyond just the Bishop but to the young men (regardless of truth), the bishops wife and children as well as all who have followed him. I truly pray that none of these things are true for all the good work that was done under his leadership will be forever tainted. I would like to say that we should be sure to let the truth whatever it is guide our steps forwards and not continue to further victumize the innocent especially since we don't know who they are. The truth is already know God will direct the reveal.
  • by Christine Location: Tallahassee on Sep 27, 2010 at 01:49 PM
    We need to be very careful as to who we put our mouth on. Especially, God's people. God is the one who called Bishop Eddie Long and God is the one who will deal with the servant of God, if there is anything out of decency and order of God's word. I have heard Bishop Eddie Long bring forth God's word and it lines up according to the word of God. I have seen the ministry help the less fortunate,donate money,feed the hunger,evanaglize,heal,deliver,and follow God's way. Now, if there is something thatis not right about what Bishop Eddie Long is not doing than that between him and God. people are waiting to ssee other people fall and they trying to set them up to fall. WE need to remember just like God needs a body, satan do to. I do agree not every accusation is true. The enemy is always after God people to tempt us. But God is always there to test us. We can't always believe everything we hear about God's people! In time, God will reveal the truth, if there's any! Be Encouraged!
  • by Jennifer Location: Oregon on Sep 27, 2010 at 12:52 PM
    If you have never heard him preach you should. As he has said before a thief doesnt go to someones house to steal something that has no value. He has been falsely accused and in time god will reveal the truth to the world. Not every accusation is true, there are people in the world that love to see others fall and that is very sad! Bishop Eddie long may have been hit but he will not fall! Greater are those who are for him than against him! Not everything you hear and read are the truth. Open your hearts and minds, there is a bigger fight at hand!
  • by missredd20009 Location: south Ga. on Sep 25, 2010 at 07:28 PM
    It's not right to judge people before they are proven guilty.SO many people are lied on that are in jail right now we should be praying,God is soon to come again.Let him judge this man of the cloth if he has done what they say he has who can punish him more you or me?
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