September 22nd, 2010
09:25 AM ET

Exclusive: Bishop Long's rep: Abuse claims 'without merit'

Two men have filed suit claiming that prominent Atlanta pastor Eddie Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young males at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex. The church is denying the allegations.

Art Franklin, the spokesperson for Bishop Long, talked to American Morning's Kiran Chetry and John Roberts exclusively about the allegations.

Art Franklin: Good morning, Kiran and John. How are you guys?

Kiran Chetry: Great, thank you. Disturbing allegations for sure from two men who tell our Ed Lavandera they have texts and e-mail that is will corroborate their story. What is Bishop Long's side?

Franklin: I want to be clear from our perspective. There's been a lot of chatter since yesterday. But these complaints that have been filed against Bishop Long are definitely without merit and as we swiftly stated yesterday upon learning of the accusations, and as you said, Bishop Long categorically and adamantly denies the allegations and there's really unfortunate that the men gone down the road, taken this course of action against someone who helped them like numerous individuals and families in tough situations.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Georgia • Pastors • Scandal • Sex abuse • United States

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. religion.blogs.cnn.com

    Exclusive bishop longs rep abuse claims without merit.. Very nice 🙂

    April 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  2. Froggy

    He's guilty just like all the other preachers before him.

    September 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  3. bigts

    Why can not the people in he church see that he is not what he say he is.

    September 27, 2010 at 4:10 am |
  4. Reality

    For new members only-

    For truth in scandals:

    "In a statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in September 2009, the Holy See stated "We know now that in the last 50 years somewhere between 1.5% and 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in s-exual a-buse cases," adding that this figure was comparable with that of other groups and denominations."

    “As with other religious organizations, Jehovah's Witnesses have been obliged in recent years to develop child protection policies to deal with cases of child a-buse in their congregations. Details of the policy have been published in Jehovah's Witnesses' publications and press releases issued by their Office of Public Information.[1][2] Some details are found only in letters to elders which, while solely for internal use, have been made available on the Internet.”

    “Facing calls to curb child s-ex abuse within its churches, in June the Southern Baptist Convention — the largest U.S. religious body after the Catholic Church — urged local hiring committees to conduct federal background checks but rejected a proposal to create a central database of staff and clergy who have been either convicted of or indicted on charges of mol-esting minors. The SBC decided against such a database in part because its principle of local autonomy means it cannot compel individual churches to report any information. And while the headlines regarding churches and pe-dophilia remain largely focused on Catholic parishes, the lack of hierarchical structure and systematized record-keeping in most Protestant churches makes it harder not only for church leaders to impose standards, but for interested parties to track allegations of abuse. "

    "Yet another prominent Orthodox rabbi has been charged with se-xual abuse. This time it is Rabbi Mordechai Elon, one of the foremost rabbinic leaders of the Israeli Orthodox movement and former rosh yeshiva at the flagship Yeshivat HaRav, where last year a Palestinian mounted an assault which left several students dead. The result was that students of the yeshiva and other far right Jews went on a rampage and tried to burn down the home of the family of the perpetrator of the attack. Elon’s brother is Benny, a former MK for a far-right pro-settler party."

    "A jury in Oregon ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay $18.5 million to a former Scout who suffered s-exual ab-use as a child at the hands of his troop leader — the largest such award levied against the organization, reports The Oreg-onian.

    Attorneys for 38-year-old Kerry Lewis said the verdict exposed the organization’s “dark history with pe-dophiles and its unwillingness to come to terms with the problem.” They waved “per-version files“ around the courtroom – secret files kept by the Scouts doc-umenting claims of se-xual ab-use by troop leaders and volunteers over a 70 year-period."

    September 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  5. Kate

    Sounds like Bishop Long's been reading the Vatican playbook on such matters. I wonder how long before it's called "petty gossip"

    Any time lawyers do all the talking, all I can think of is a hit song by Dead or Alive many decades ago – You spin me right Round.

    About the only thing that would make this even more unbelievable a pile of spin would be if Gloria Allred gets hired by one of the participants, then we'll know it's all theater designed to make money for someone (usually Gloria Allred).

    Any time someone has lawyers do all the talking in front of the cameras, they're guily. It's that simple. Innocent people can speak for themselves.

    Just boogyin'

    September 22, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Critter


      Just boogyin' is right! Daaaang, girl! You're zipping around this place like a ping-pong ball! You must have a good setup on your machine. You make me feel like a yokel clumping down a dirt road eatin' yer dust as you fly by at low altltude! Daaaaang!

      September 22, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • Kate


      Feedreaders are your friend 😛

      Just geekin'

      September 22, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • Critter


      *cough* *cough* Yeah, I think you might have somethin' there...*cough* I might even try 'em one of these days..*cough*

      Just coughin'

      September 22, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  6. Critter

    A church with 25,000 members? That's a lot of spaghetti to dish out.
    Reading between the lines of the interview, I would say that Bishop Long is in some trouble here, but I am one of those people who collects statistical trends with a very cynical eye.
    Churches are one of the biggest draws for any se-xual predator, so I am already prejudiced in terms of religious people using their churches as se-xual resources.

    Bishop, if you are guilty, you'd better 'fess up. This isn't the old days where you could hide this sort of thing forever...

    September 22, 2010 at 9:40 am |
    • Kate


      Give him a chance to figure out where to get the glycerin tears solution from, set up his proxy to act as a figurehead, so then he can step down giving a tearful confession, be forgiven, go on sabbatical for a couple of years, then return triumphantly because his congregation will have forgotten all of it first, will ya??

      Just bein' cynical

      September 22, 2010 at 9:45 am |
    • Ykcyc

      He wouldn't possibly lie. That would be against his religion. All he would have to do is confess his sins and all is forgiven anyway. What a mind job for little boys. Upstanding citizen!

      September 22, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  7. Ykcyc

    God gets what God wants. God help us all.

    September 22, 2010 at 9:29 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.