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    July 07

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Bishop faces third sex lawsuit

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 23 September 2010

eddielong

Atlanta – A third lawsuit has been filed accusing Bishop Eddie Long of coercing young men in his Atlanta megachurch into having sex in exchange for cash and cars. The suit was filed on Tuesday in DeKalb County Superior Court, in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. A spokesmanfor the pastor on Tuesday said the two other young men who had filed lawsuits against Long were out to stake their claim on his fortune and called the allegations baseless. The allegations against the leader of a 25 000-plus-member church are particularly explosive because of Long’s outspoken views on homosexuality. The Southern Poverty Law Centre calls the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church leader “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement” and noted that he had referred to homosexuality and lesbianism as “spiritual abortions”. In the lawsuit, the two men accuse Long of exploiting his influence to coerce the then-teenagers into sexual relationships with him for years. Long attended the 2007 Essence Music Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Centre on July 5, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Two men have filed a lawsuit alleging Long, in 2007, coerced them into sexual relationships when they were teenagers. The lawsuit says Long, 57, has a long pattern of “singling out a select group of young male church members” and using his influence to engage in “sexual acts and relationships for his own personal sexual gratification.” The suit says the pastor referred to the teenagers as “spiritual sons” and instructed them to follow their “master.” In exchange, they claim, Long introduced them to celebrities like film director Tyler Perry, according to The New York Times. (AP)

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