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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)
  1. Bonnie

    God spoke through the Apostle Paul said it all. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into and angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his (Satan's) ministers keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their END shall be according to their works. 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15. These types of men are fully corrupt in mind and spirit.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • @akaBillClinton

      i hope youre referring to Eddie Long as well with that comment .Its possible that he helped corrupt there minds!

      August 26, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  2. Ashen

    The fact is that these young men ARE NOT the BISHOP/PASTOR/LEADER of a "church" with 25,000 members! I have listened to this man(?) who supposedly thinks of himself as some kind of "man's man" or "tough guy" – a "lion" with a gentle heart – I'll be polite & say (after I stop laughing) that he may indeed be a "man's man" but he sure as hell is no tough guy, intimidating or a male role model at all! My God! The man wears eyeliner & almost as much makeup as Jan Crouch of the TBN Network. He is no "lion" rather he is a "kitten" – I'll be civil & leave it at that. Someone had to say it! I could not believe that anyone would have sat through his "God's New Semen/Sperm/Seed" Sermon. How more ridiculous & outrageous would a "sermon" have to be before someone, anyone stood up & said "Enough!"? What of his other "sermons" he has preached? Who writes his sermons for him? Larry Flynt?!!! Come on people! The signs are everywhere & they are damning. Consider his mansion, the Bentley, Mercedes, Armani suits, diamond rings, gold chains, Rolex watches that are HIS & then consider the cars, jewelry, computers, stereos, electronics, designer suits & clothes he bought these young men! The "JL" tattoo where the young man was permanently "inked" accompanied by his "pastor" is absolutely sickening. Talk about the "mark of the beast"! He has mismanaged, mislead, & deceived hard working, honest people who believed they were supporting the work of spreading the Gospel, helping the poor & down trodden – only to learn they have supported the "luxurious lifestyle" of a great pretender. His wife, these young men, & 25,000 members of the church he pastors are all victims of one man they trusted: "Bishop" Eddie Long. Also notice that not one word has been spoken to refute or fight these allegations – only "pay offs" & "settlements". Absolutely sickening...

    August 26, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  3. B.J. CHATMAN

    Of course his "church" will back him, of course all the preachers will cover him BUT GOD will judge him. None of them step
    down anymore, its to much money to walk away from. They use the Scriptures to hide behind but it is yet the people whom God will hold responsible. WHO DID DECEIVE YOU, this is in the Word of God. We are responsible to know God's Word for ourselves and we are responsible to react in accordance with the Word of God. How can you expect them to obey God's
    Word about falling when they name themselves Bishops and the Word of God says they should be the husband of one wife. Will God say to us, oh you were just showing love, oh you were not judging or will he say WHO DID DECEIVE YOU OH FOOLISH. The church of today and the Gospel are to profitable to walk away from. ITS THE MONEY FOOLS! ITS THE MONEY
    not the saving of souls. I pray the Lord will judge him in this lifetime. I pray when God touches his BODY and no man's medicide can cure him, he will cry out to the Lord, I'm guilty and take full responsiblity for his actions and ask for
    forgiveness.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  4. HappyMeal

    What a tragedy. So sad. All those involved are to be prayed for. It's good that everything factual will be published. It needs to be done. These young men will have plenty money from the book sale. Hope they can continue and finish education. It's best if everyone finds truth about God, truth about life and truth about ourselves no matter how painful the process is.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  5. ChiefW

    It's been reported that many minsters in the Atlanta area reached out to Rev Long, to either hear his story or support him. He ignored them all. Giving those boys money and making them leave Atlanta was just shameful. I hope these kids get to a victim's support group, and if writing a book help purge the demons that Rev Long created, I say go for it. It's really hard to trust man of faith who wears very expensive suits, drives a Bentley and lives in Mansion. He even paid off a school official to give his daughter class credit for a Sunday School class, so she could graduate from High School. Obliviously Rev Long thinks money can solve all his problems

    August 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  6. Habib

    Its better for him than what it takes on http://www.faithfreedom.org/

    August 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  7. Fred1

    Shouldn't jesus be doing a better job of looking after these boys?

    "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? …?" Matthew 6:26,27 (NIV)

    August 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  8. coco_rayne

    C MY PROBLEM WITH DIS SITUATION IS WHEN THESE BOYS WERE TEENS.THEY HAD NO QUAMS IN TAKING DA MONEY N GIFTS.WHERE WERE THERE PARENTS AT DIS TIME? WERE THEY REAPING THE BENNIFITS OF THEIR SON GETTING MOLESTED.IT IS VERY HARD FOR ME 2 COMPREHEND ALOT OF STATEMENTS THESE BOYS MAKE.THEY SETTLED OUT OF COURT 4 WUT.IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS U TAKE HIM DOWN COMPLETELY.U DONT SETTLE.THEN 1 SAYS HIS LIFE WAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN N HE COULD BURN THE MONEY CUZ U DONT CARE BOUT IT.IF THAT IS THE CASE " WHY THE HELL ARE U GONNA WRITE A BOOK?I DO NOT CONDONE OR APPROVE OF WHAT EDDIE LONG HAS DONE.BUT WHY DONT JUST TELL DA WOLRD WHAT HAPPEN NOW INSTEAD OF WRITTING A BOOK.EDDIE LONG WILL PAY IN MORE WAYS THEN 1 IF THE STORY IS COMPLETELY TRUE.JUST LIKE WITH THE YOUNG MEN IF THEY ARE LYING ABOUT CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE STORY THEY WILL.AT THE END OF THE DAY KARMA AINT NOTHING 2 BE TWISTED WITH.AND THE RATH OF GOD IS GONNA BE MORE THEN THEY CAN IMAGINE.TIME WILL TELL IT LOOKS LIKE SOME1 IS ALREADY DEALING WITH KARMA.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Fred1

      Well seeing god's and karma's retrobution to televangelests I'd say these boys have noting to worry about. If only Eddy Long was as impotent as god and karma

      August 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Martin T

      Well, not to be overly critical, but your spelling and grammar are so bad, I couldn't get past the first line, so sorry, can't really debate with someone who can't write a complete thought.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • ohsnap

      Whaaaaaa?????????????? Where did you learn English? From the Chronic album? I can't even read what you are saying! Sorry, get a dictionary, learn grammatically correct English, turn off the caps, form a cohesive thought, THEN post a comment.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:38 am |
  9. atl_needsprayer

    I have not supported my former pastor Eddie Long since he settled; however I think these "alleged victims" are not victims as they knew what they were doing. There are only two victims in this which are Vanessa Long (his wife) and the New Birth congregation.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Martin T

      Don't miss the point here, it's not about the victims, it's about the MINISTER who railed against gays, then goes off and buggers some teenage boys... That's the story...

      August 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • atl_needsprayer

      I don't think you read my whole statement. So let me say it again I do not support Eddie Long. I believe he is wrong; however I do not think these men are victims. That's the point I am making.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • Martin T

      I agree that these young men were no victims, per se... they may have been trying to exploit the good minister. I was saying for the sake of the crowd, not to get too wrapped up in the "victims" as to miss the point of the good minister falling from grace. That's all..

      August 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • ohsnap

      The point is that Mr. Long (whether these young men were victims of not) needs to be exposed. THAT is the story. And I'm glad you don't support him. Hopefully you have left the church. If you haven't, then you still support him.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  10. Ramtough

    I saw two or three non-comprehensive illiterates say that the boy blew the money. Can you show me the line that said that? ....

    August 25, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  11. edward

    So they made money "keeping their mouths shut" when it happened, money for what happened, NOWWWWW they are sayin "go buy the book, its full of oohh's and aahh's" lmfao this is allll about money and nothing more.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  12. Martin T

    How long will people be duped by these so called "Preachers" who are making a killing and living large on the money given to them by suckers who have some weird need to be told what to do by some slick talking huckster?

    August 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  13. Patrick R

    Two necked men in bed with two long stick, what were they doing playing sword fight!!

    August 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  14. scott501

    Did Eddies wife stand by him just like "rev" jessie jackosn wife did? great example in my opinion

    August 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  15. Patrick R

    You know you love it "play girl", you just love Eddie long long stick,,,,amen bro.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  16. Stacy

    What does Parris's legal problems have to do with this? Eddie Long is probably the reason for his actions!

    August 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  17. Ashen

    Eddie Long needs to step down or be put down and never allowed back into the pulpit. He is a total disgrace to the human race. Anyone who still supports this guy – look at him! He looks like Rue Paul's frickin' sister. Halloween isn't even here yet and this "cat" dresses up like "Sinderella" every Sunday. Hell, someone needs to say it. This bloated, wannabe body builder and his hair transplants need to be far away from any leadership or financial responsibility. Where did the money come from to buy these young MEN cars, jewlery, computers, etc. ? Where did this "Hush" money come from? Wake up people! This isn't a man of God – this is a man of FRAUD!!! The next thing we'll see is Eddie Long and Ted Haggard holding hands, walking down the beach for a "Depends" commercial! Or should I say "Deep Ends"? (Come on now – that's hilarious...)

    August 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • wendy

      funny indeed!

      August 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  18. Arleashia

    I'm sending prayers up for everyone that's involved. Only God knows what truly happen in this situation.

    August 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • lamont wms

      I'm sure Eddie long knows.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • ohsnap

      Eddie Long knows. And I'll bet his wife does too.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • ohsnap

      And no offense, but that 'only God knows' line is just an excuse for inaction. I've heard it enough in churches.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:45 am |
  19. Ashen

    Ol' Eddie Long will throw a "hissy" when he reads the book that proves he's a "sissy". Does he know Neal & Bob? Oh, I forgot – that's what he allegedly does... LMAO

    August 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  20. gupsphoo

    Churches exist for one reason – to take money from the gullible.

    August 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Fred1

      Oh no, theres a strong social element. It's a great place for old men to meat young boys.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • HappyMeal

      The Church has been helping the poor for all time all over the world with great sacrifices.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Happymeal..other peoples money..

      August 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • HappyMeal

      EvolvedDNA, no, Christians' money. Pay back all you owe to China, Americans.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
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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.