$15M settlement reached in Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal
In case you hadn’t heard and, considering the only modest amount of media coverage the case was given this summer, Bishop Eddie Long settled the sexual misconduct lawsuits filed against him by four former members of his congregation last fall. Since it’s been a year since those lawsuits were filed, it might help to refresh your memories of just what the lawsuits involved.
Bishop Long heads the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church based in Lithonia, Ga. (Lithonia is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area.) New Birth represents the latest trend toward church life in America, the so-called “mega” church. These churches are known for having a great many members, sometimes numbering into the tens of thousands.
In September 2010, four young men (each younger than 18 at the time the alleged misconduct took place), filed lawsuits against Bishop Long. They accused the pastor of using his influence to coerce them into sexual relations. According to the lawsuits, Long took advantage of them by offering jobs, gifts, the opportunity to meet and mingle with celebrities and even trips overseas with him and his entourage. In fact, it was on some of those trips abroad that the accusers allege some of the sexual misconduct took place.
When news of the lawsuits broke a year ago, you may recall, there was plenty of media coverage. CNN, based in Atlanta, was top heavy with stories once news of the lawsuits became public. With Long’s mega church also Atlanta-based, CNN’s coverage should not come as a surprise. The city’s primary newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also provided detailed coverage of the lawsuit.