Two Bishop Eddie Long accusers break silence
Bishop Eddie Long has denied allegations that he sexually coerced male congregants.
August 25th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Two Bishop Eddie Long accusers break silence

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

(CNN) - Two young men who last fall sued Atlanta megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long for allegedly manipulating them into having sex when they were teens are speaking out against the pastor for the first time since settling with him out of court.

On Wednesday, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande, now in their early 20s, gave an exclusive interview to CNN Atlanta affiliate WSB, saying that they are haunted by their experiences with Long and that they are writing a tell-all book about what they say happened between them and the powerful pastor.

Read more about the Eddie Long scandal

Last September, Parris, LeGrande and two other young men filed suit alleging Long “uses monetary funds from the accounts of New Birth and other corporate and non-profit corporate accounts to entice the young men with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics.” The accusations were particularly controversial because Long, who is married, has preached passionately against homosexuality for years.

In May, following months of mediation, Long and Parris and LeGrande reached an undisclosed settlement agreement. The terms are not public.

However, WSB reported Wednesday that the men claim Long made cash payments to them in exchange for their pledge to never talk about the case again.

But LeGrande and Parris said that they couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

“It's just not enough anymore. I thought I could cover the pain up. I thought I could move, start over and everything will go away. I was terribly wrong," said Parris.

Talking with WSB, the men delved into details about their alleged relationship with Long, who has maintained his innocence from the start. On Thursday, Long media representative Art Franklin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Parris told WSB that he grew up without a father and that Long seized on that vulnerability. “To have a man love me for just who I was. I just had to be me, and love him back,” said Parris.

Jamal Parris pointed to a “JL” tattoo on his arm, which he said stands for “Jamal Long,” suggesting an extraordinarily close relationship between the two. Parris said Long was with him when he got inked.

The men told WSB that writing a book is part of their effort at healing, though it’s unclear if the men are publishing the book themselves or if they have a book contract.

"You ain't ready for the secrets,” Parris said. “I don't care if this book sells one copy. But if it's just for me, this is what my life looked like, this is my voice for the first time.”

“Ten years of details, each person,” LeGrande said. “It's gonna be a book full of 'wow's' and 'ahh's' and 'Oh my Gods.'"

The men said they’re outraged and hurt that Long has maintained the respect of much of his 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist congregation in the face of the scandal.

LeGrande and Parris were angry and saddened when Long told his cheering congregants last fall that he would fight the allegations, comparing himself to David under attack from Goliath.

“If you read the Bible again, mister, we are David,” LeGrande told WSB. (Watch LeGrande and Parris talk about their reaction.)

In Wednesday’s interview, the men said they don’t care that talking about the case could mean risking their settlement money.

“I feel like burning [the money],” LeGrande said.

“I’m going to tell the world – money does not buy happiness,” he said. “When you sleep at night, the problems are still there. The money stuff, who cares about the number.”

In July, police arrested Parris in Miami Beach, Florida, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Parris was reportedly driving a 2011 BMW that had no tags. Florida Highway Patrol officers found 181 grams of marijuana, 50 clear plastic baggies, a Taurus semiautomatic handgun and $1,250 in the car, according to the AJC.

Parris was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. He was also charged with operating a motor vehicle with no registration, according to the AJC.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church • Georgia • Leaders • Uncategorized

soundoff (323 Responses)
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    July 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  3. Danna

    Gods job is to judge bishop long. I don't know if he did or not, God, Bishop long and the accusers know the truth. If these allegations are true, God will judge Bishop long with a stricker judgement. I will not judge him, it's not my job. The word states"Those that practice this, will bear the sins of it in their body." Bishop needs prayer and respect. REMEMBER WHAT WOULD JESUS DO!

    December 6, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Karen

      I think eddie long is guilty

      June 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  4. carolp

    These boys are victims. Even if they took the money. You are going to find out there are many more (boys) victims. This probably has been years in the making. Some are men now and have moved on. But you wonder how many of them have troubled lives. Most abused victims won't tell ever. I praise these young men for coming forwarded. Oprah/Tyler Perry show it best on men being abused. It does changed who they are as men. If allegations were true, I hope these men from the past and the four young men, who have been victimized, chewed, and spitted out by these predators get help. Also I agree with one who posted that the boys should have went all the way through the legal system and not been paid off. I think in a long run they are gone to wish they had, especially if they are telling truth. God bless us all.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  5. carolp

    Legrande and Parris write your book. Parris go get some professional help before your life gets out of control. Once it spirals, it is hard to come back. Pray for forgiveness. These preachers, teachers, and anyone who is in authority can and will abuse their power. Usually they will seek out potential prey as Long did to you all. The people who stay with the perpretraters already know who they are dealing with but look the other way, especially if there is a benefit for them. The ones closest to these predators also know their MO, especially the wives. They also look the other way. A lot of times there is some abuse going on in their home behind closed doors due to the fact the wife knows about it. How else are you going to keep up with that status you are used to; such as the big house, money, clothes, cars, etc. Most women are not going to give that up. If you look back on news cases about these kinds of incidents, you will see a pattern where the women would say they did not know. Its not true. Women know everything. They just choose to look the other way. Like I mention eariler, if they confront these abusers, they would also get abused. And the ones that decide to tell only tell after it has been reported by the media or the abuser. That's when that get relief knowing that someone else finally exposed them.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  6. aceswhile

    I hope he is not guilty. God will judge. let's pray for the grace and peace we have in the knowledge of JESUS, so we won't be deceived. JESUS said, "...Go. and sin no more." We all gotta do that.

    December 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • jULIE



      December 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  7. anthony masakhalia zachary wakoli

    i am a male aged 43yrs. above all Jesus is Lord and Saviour of my life.
    i need your prayers please sir. i have a case in court of which my lawyer has started giving statements in favour of my accuser. i am innocent. right now i stand to loose my job and be jailed without any reason. they just want me to pay money that i do not have in the name of maintenance fee for my children. the woman said the born again people are poor and miserable after taking away my children from me and wiping my house empty. seeing what the Lord has started doing in my life now she uses senior relatives in the government to see me jailed. the prosecutor told me their aim is to see me finished.
    pastor i cry day and night.
    i am committed to serving the Lord with all that i am and what ever the Lord tells you servant of God, i will do to see this problem gone.

    +254 705434443

    September 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  8. benedict

    Every one out there should be quit cos no one is without sin

    September 20, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  9. Agnes Tekyi

    Those guys should shut up as they took the money to remain silent. All involved are guilty anyway.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • Sinner Mann

      recognize the Sin, renounce the Sin, realize God's forgiving nature.
      Study the 3 R's
      Sin no more.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  10. Nathan

    To much of worshipping the pastor instead of Jesus Christ. If a man of God falls into sin and won't acknowledge it and continue to stand up in the pulpit and teach the word of God,people in that church need to flee and go to another church where the minister is humble and living God's word and not preaching it only. these young are telling the truth,for them to come out and continue to speak out even if it causes them their settlement. Just like the young man said,money can't bring you true happiness,and these guys are really going through . and with the nightmares,how can they just forget it.they trusted eddie long like he was their father,and he do something like this.eddie long need to come clean and fall on his first and cry out to Jesus Christ for his forgiveness,because he will do it. pray for these young men and eddie long,because satan wants to destroy them all.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  11. gimarie

    These mega-church sadducees and pharisees will never repent. They are so puffed up with pride, they love their power, positions and money too much. These types of false pastors and prophets are wolves in sheep clothing, these are the false prophets that Paul talks about in his epistles, he called them dogs, sorcerers, enchanters, magicians, evil workers. It is not God who put them before presidents but their money, their fame. Remember there were many of these false prophets hanging around the kings in the bible speaking all kinds of false prophecies. The real prophets don't sit at the presidents tables.

    September 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
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About this blog

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.