After several months of intense negotiations, the sexual coercion lawsuits filed against Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellows Youth Academy have been settled out of court. Attorneys for both sides have confirmed that a settlement was reached in mediation talks with the four defendants, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande. The four young men had accused Bishop Long of using his influence as their spiritual leader to coerce them into sexual relationships. There were charges that Long gave the young men expensive gifts, trips and provided living quarters. Since the suit was settled in mediation the exact details of what happened may never be known to the public. WAOK and V-103 have been covering the case from the beginning. Here is a recap of how it all unfolded.
The case first came to light last September when two young men, Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg filed a lawsuit against Long and the church charging that the Bishop used his influence and expensive gifts to entice them into having a sexual relationship with him. Two quickly became four when Parris and LeGrande came forward with similar charges against Bishop Long.
Frank and Wanda of our sister station V-103 interviewed Dale Russell the Fox 5 reporter who originally broke the story. Russell talked about the case and his two part interview with Jamal Parris the third plaintiff in the case.
Attorneys for Bishop Long and the plaintiffs decided to mediate the cases. A hearing was set for Feb.
Word then leaked that the cases were moving forward and were scheduled to be decided by Easter Sunday. A few days after Easter Sunday, the judge handling the mediation said talks were not going well and as a result he would prepare to set a trial date sometime later this summer. On Thursday, May 26 both sides decided to agree on terms that would settle the cases and thus seal the files from the public. There are unconfirmed reports that the settlement consists of $15 million for the plaintiffs and a private apology from Bishop Eddie Long. A statement released by a spokesman for Bishop Long said: “This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.”
Here are the links to the original lawsuits filed by Robinson, Parris, Flagg and LeGrande