September 24th, 2010
04:58 PM ET

Fourth lawsuit filed against Pastor Eddie Long

A fourth lawsuit has been filed against Atlanta-area pastor Eddie Long, alleging he coerced a 17-year-old into a sexual relationship during a 2005 trip the two took to Africa.

The suit - filed, like the others, in DeKalb County, Georgia, State Court - claims Long invited Spencer LeGrande, now 22, on a trip to Kenya.

On the first night in Nairobi, Long asked LeGrande to come to his room, where the youth told the pastor he was having difficulty going to sleep, the
suit states. Long provided Ambien, a sleep aid, and they both took the drug, according to the suit.

Long then gave LeGrande a hug, kissed and licked the youth's lips and rubbed the teen's chest, according to the lawsuit. They slept in bed together that evening and during the rest of the Kenya trip, the lawsuit states, adding they went on shopping sprees.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Long denied the allegations.

"Our position about the lawsuits has not changed. Bishop Long categorically denies the charges," said spokesman Art Franklin. "We believe
that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action.

The defense team will review the complaints and respond accordingly at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum."

In a statement issued Thursday, Long asked for patience "as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges" and requested prayers for himself, his family and the church. He said he will respond to his congregation from the pulpit on Sunday.

Long's church, New Birth Missionary Baptist, also is a defendant in the civil action.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Georgia • Homosexuality • Pastors • Sex abuse

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