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. Tima

    I love Bishop Long but when this scandal first emerged, I had my doubts about his intergrity. I always beleive ingiving people the benefit of the doubt because, when you are on top, most people can't wait to pull you down. I myself have been avictim of falseallegations andI know how painful that can be, and how helpless one feels when everyone out there believes the lies spoken against you. Having said this, Iam nowconvinced that these guys are liars and greedy.They agreed and were paid not to further discuss the matter. If they had intergrity, why did they accept the money in the firstplace. And if they changed theirminds, why did they not refund the money? I believe they realized they could make more money from the so-called tell all book. They may have treid to blackmail the Bishop into giving them more money and he refused, so now they want to publish trash. Well, for those who have no charity to donate their excess cash to, please think of donating to Haiti or Red Cross or save-a-child before funding someones greed. These guys are into drugs and they have spent all the money tehy had to fund their destructive habits. The Bishop is still a source of income for them. My prayer is that the truth will be exposed. If Bishop is innocent, may God vindicate him.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • Roscoe

      And that is where everyone's opinion should lie. But alot of people want to jump on the "crucify him" bandwagon and do not really know for sure what happened.

      August 26, 2011 at 6:36 am |
    • Rick

      If the Bishop was innocent, why did he settle in the first place? And, what has their taking drugs got to do with anything? Because it's a self destructive habit? There are lots of self destructive habits out there. Obesity, smoking, drinking, spending your life on the down low....

      August 26, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Yemmy


      August 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  2. JazzyLee

    This story continues to baffle me. First of all I could never be a member of a church where the Pastor was clearly a hypocrit. And while I believe both of these boys stories I don't believe they had a problem with what Pastor 'Grab A**' was doing until they realized they could get more out of him by revealing to the public what he's really about. I don't think they're hurt at all. Read the article carefully. Everything they do is for the money. Civil suit, now a book filled with "Ohh's and Ahh's" as he put it. Come on! But hey, only they know the truth. I'm just a spectator.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  3. ron

    It's so amazing what money will do to a lot of people.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  4. Charms

    Sad story. Men of God shouldn't be caught in such a mess if true.
    But CNN, do a story about honor killings that Islam supports.
    Fair anyone?

    August 26, 2011 at 5:49 am |
    • Rick

      Men of god. Indeed.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  5. ire

    The boys should be in therapy. The bishop in jail.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • ThsIsNotReal22

      So you have proof he is guilty?

      August 26, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  6. leesan1945

    I think crap like this is perfect; bring out the dirt on these hypocrites and let people see what's here. The more these bums are brought into daylight, the better society will be. But remember these clowns control a lot of people and money so in the long term, they won't be hurt much at all; But it's always worth a try.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:22 am |
  7. Larry

    Eddie Long.

    Just one of many false prophets.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:09 am |

    No surprise about Long, just like the preacher who has been accused of raping woman in back of his church. The parishioners are still loya,l unbelieving in the accusations. That's because most of them are lambs, a flock if you will they've been brainwashed for so long that they no longer understand what it is to think for themsleves and without these crooked preachers telling them what is right and wrong they will never be free of them: CULTS!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  9. roy d powers

    bishop long is as GAY AS THE IS LONG FOR THE BOYS ITSALL ABOUT THE MONEY5 years ago a month after i joined a mega church in los anglesi i recived a letter from my pastor asking for 160.oo for a weding anv.thats why i dont go to church anymore 79 years old i pray in my living or bed roomwhy should i give my money to these hucksters

    August 26, 2011 at 3:44 am |
  10. huxley

    Please tell me thats a toupee. Please. That has to be a toupee. If its not – kill your barber with fire.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • ohsnap


      August 26, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • DPLJLB


      August 26, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • Yemmy

      @ Huxley... Ummm its more than that... its a high price wig with curls. They say he had a bad perm that burned his scalp and he had no choice but get a wig with curls. Hmmm... me thinks the wig was just the beginning of him "reaping what he has sown"

      August 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  11. Michael

    This is rapidly becoming a lose-lose for all involved. The less said the better for all involved. Remember the families are going to get really hurt in this public sh!t storm brewing.

    If I was one of those boys, I'd shut my mouth forever, just to save my family the pain.

    Blood is thicker that water, and in the end I predict those boys will deeply regret stirring this up again.

    They are not thinking about their families here at all!

    August 26, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • sam

      According to the Bible “what is done in the dark must be reveal in the light." God rain on the justice and the unjustice. “ He hears the cries of orphans and those afflicted. It is time to expose the counterfeited mega.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:07 am |
    • Aine57

      What was done to them is hideous. They need to tell their story if they are ever to go on with their lives. This is a man who manipulated the vulnerable by exploiting their loneliness and youth and did it all "in God's name." Mr. Long, you may think you are David; you are not. Nonetheless, remember this: David might have been a great hymnist, warrior, and king, but he also cheated on his wife, spied on and took Bathsheba, who was happily married, and made her a widow so that he would have no rival in her husband. Nathan set him straight.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • Christchild

      @Michael, you are not those boys. You did not go through what they went through; thus, you do not know how you would re-act if you share their pain. It is easy to say you would do this or that had it been you, but you really don't know what you would do. This is their story. They are the ones suffering. Allow them the freedom to deal with their pain the best way they deem fit. Being a product of abuse myself, I can relate to those young man. Unless you have walked a mile in their shoes, you are not in a position to judge.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:29 am |
  12. parrot


    August 26, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  13. Ruby M. Fletcher

    It all about the money. Who wants to read a book about this, No one. It won't sell. If all of this was true, they were adults. They got mad, now they want revenge. They need to go somewhere and sit down, enjoy the money, go to school, or to work and stay off TV. Enough of this on TV. They wanted his congration to leave the church, that didn't happen , so they are angry. Get over it!! If it happen it was wrong, so why keep talking about it. Believe me the book won't sell. They should be tired of discussing it. Its not making him lose the church, so what do they want?????

    August 26, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • ohsnap

      You are missing the point of the article. Everyone KNOWS it's about the money but THINKING people don't care because perverts like Mr. Long need to be exposed and not coddled and protected by parishioners who are blinded by flashy preachers.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • Christchild

      Two things, you are either related to Eddie Long or you are currently one of his play toys. If it is the latter, let us see how you are going to re-act when he is through with you.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • Roscoe

      @ChristChild...idle minds give in to gossip. Pray about and end the discussion. If he is guilty i will let that be between him and God, but I am not now nor have I ever been a member of his congregation. Mega churches are too much for me.

      August 26, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  14. Rock God

    Any time I hear about an anti-gay preacher/Republican/bully, I just assume they are gay. Watch the film, "Outrage." The GOP is one big gay closet.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Roger Noe

      Why didn't the two "men" tell all the details to CNN? Why must anyone who may be interested wait for the book? If Parris, one of the "men" didn't care about money, why was s/he going to sell drugs in Florida?

      August 26, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  15. ken

    Eddie has an option: Buy the rights to the book then buy all the copies bro!

    August 26, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Roger Noe

      Ken what give you the right to use the racist term "bro"?

      August 26, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • ken

      Sorry bro'ver Roger!!

      August 26, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Josh

      "Bro" isn't racist. And I'm black. So stupid to make that statement, "bro."

      August 26, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  16. peter

    “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.”

    maybe you shouldve taken the case through court instead of settling. You know, so instead of making more money, you get the assurance he's punished for his crimes? That's kinda how the system works properly when you don't settle for the first set of zeros you see.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • JazzyLee


      August 26, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  17. Doug

    This is how it works in the hood... You give the hood rat all the money, he spends it like a freak, then wants more.. Seriously Eddie long, you created this.. Time to fess up... These boys are going to tell your wife about all your private parts.. Then what ? Come on dude.... Step down.. it's time.. you are out of options... Don't play in the hood.. you know how it works !

    August 26, 2011 at 2:31 am |
  18. solowd

    it's fitting that pedophilia and organized religion, the two greatest evils in the world, have formed such a close partnership

    August 26, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Doug

      Amen brother !

      August 26, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • rachel

      You hit the nail on the head with THIS one! Good job.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Michael

      Pedophilia involves children under 12 years old. These fully developed boys were of the age of consent. Duh?

      August 26, 2011 at 3:58 am |
  19. AMINU

    Its all about money – one of the accuser was arrested in FL with gun and drugs in a 2011 BMW, its all about money and please dont buy the stupid book – Read more from this link


    August 26, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • ohsnap

      Personally, I don't care if it's all about the money...let them spend it because you already know what's going to happen there. I think Eddie Long and hypocrites of that ilk should be publicly exposed. People that are blind enough to make excuses for him and cover up the abuses need to have their eyes opened by someone airing the churches' dirty laundry or else other children/young men will be affected. AND SHAME ON ANYONE THAT MAKES EXCUSES FOR THIS PERVERT.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:31 am |
  20. Robert

    Never trust a dude with a Jheri curl.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • ohsnap

      You stole my line! Bwa-hahahahahahaha

      August 26, 2011 at 4:24 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.