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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. Hamburg

    "He feels like burning the money" (the settlement money?) BUT HE WON'T!

    August 26, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  2. Horus

    You mean religion corrupts people and the pastors peddling it are complete frauds? Well color me surprised.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • V. P.

      That's a good one Horus and it's been going on forever.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  3. ATH

    If VP Cheney thinks he has a right to publish his own book, then why should not the two young men. Cheney who by his own admission does not mind doing whatsoever to another man even if it could cause death in order to get them to talk. Then he wants to sell a book for money and the spotlight. Does anyone in their right mind believe that these two young men, who must have endured much shame from the Pastor (I used that term very loosely) not have the same right to tell all? Fools who will probably go out and buy VP Cheney's book in order to find a better reason why they voted for them in the first place must remember that deaths occurred from his decisons. The two young men's souls were their only death.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  4. fedup

    Im starting not to beleive these guys. They are money hungry!

    August 26, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  5. davegeorgia

    there's a rapist in the hood, hide yo boys, girls, mamas, and papas, don't let them play basketball at eddie's church

    August 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  6. sirwinston1941

    If money was the issue here...none of them would be willing to put their settlement on the line! It's hard to face facts; but to face lies it is easy in our society. I don't judge anyone and I am not critical of these youngmen for coming out and telling the truth; afterall, they did say they want to go to court. The presiding judge said he wanted them to settle. At that appointment time; Bishop Long has the rights to say....no, I did not do anything and I too want to go to court and clear my name and my images. Did he ever step forth and do any of that? Anybody, Lawyers, Judges, etc., already knew the outcome of the case and present to Long his open book....it reads: Pictures, statements, days, times, trips, money, and the 5th preson really put the icing on the cake where it would have been a complete failure for Long even trying to go into court. The deck was to stack against Long and he, behind close doors got an eye-full and a mouth full of the deciding factors that would have slaughter him in a court of law. Knowing this to be all true; both Lawyers did say....it is best to settle even if the accusers did not want too. Even the Judge knew it was a done deal for the accusers and wanted them to settle instead of going to court. Then, Long stood before his own congregation and said what he did, but did not tell them the truth. That is what many of the NB Members found out that they have been had! Bottom Line! I will be buying the book regardless if money is involved or not. We all need to know what happen to make this such as silent case as Long want it to be!

    August 26, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  7. John

    “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.”

    I would love to see this happen. But I doubt it.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Reed Temgren

      I feel bad for these guy, you know being butt slammed and all. This guy sounds like an animal. He should axe for help.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  8. CJP

    If someone is taking advantage of you and you stick around, you are a willing participant. There is no excuse for that. These boys unfortunately were willing parties because of all the gifts showered upon them. They loved all the stuff. They could have removed themselves from the situation at any moment. Some people will say that they couldn't. That's ridiculous. How many people walk away from any situation they don't like?. Our divorce rate is over 50% because people walk away from a situation they are not happy with. People leave jobs and friendships, etc. everyday because they are not happy with them.

    Now these boys want to make even more money by writing a book. I am not going to waste my money on them.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Gbird

      So because the predator bought off the victims, that means it's the victims fault? Brilliant logic.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • LSP

      Keep in mind they were kids when this first happened. As a child, it's easier to get hooked into all the lavish gifts, etc. Not to mention, these boys did not have a father figure. A lot was told to these boys at a young age and their were manipulated to think this man would treat them as the father they've never had. Confusion set in with them.....

      August 26, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  9. stanton

    HYPOCRITE'S WHO SCREAM AGAINST SOMETHING THE MOST USUALY HAVE THE MOST TO HIDE!!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • For thePeople

      Liberals who scream that they are for the poor secretly hate the poor.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  10. sircharles19

    By now, millions now understand and should take these youngmen serious. I really think that they are hurting as to what has happen and is willing to tell it! In the beginning the NB congregation shot them down until they found out that Bishop Long never did fight, throw any rocks; pictures proven beyong a reasonable doubt, did not tell his congregation anything but grandstand in front of them. Now, all of the ploy Long did and then settle after saying "he was going to fight this thing." The truth of it all for many of us is...there were a 5ith person and Long knew that, but perhap did not tell anyone or even his wife either and how do you think this make's him look. By all Christian Faith, he is proven guilty even if he settle and if not, he should have went to court to actual fight the charges; that is what any decent minister would ahve done! Now, because Parrish and LaGrande is willing to tell all, there is a bomb about to explode and if you think no body is listening to these youung men, you are wrong. Money don't buy everything for everybody! We all should be seeking the truth as it is our christian duties. You all who are in doubt, you need to stand and help these young men.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • chef dugan

      Just another black religioius huckster that the black community seems to love so much. Jesse, Al and now him. He has many white counterparts to show him the way. Organized religion is a haven for these perverts and its followers get everything they deserve.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  11. stevie68a

    The fact that Long was so antigay, makes him the worst kind of trash. He owes the gay community an apology, and perhaps
    some of that cash, for a settlement.
    People who give money to these phony preachers are fools.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  12. bubba

    whers my post

    August 26, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  13. jimmy the freak

    Let that be a lesson to the rich and powerful. You cannot buy someone's silence. You can give him a million or twenty million, but eventually he'll squeal. The Mob knows this, why don't the church pervs.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  14. Medea

    Ewww! Long has creep factor all over him.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  15. Nicole

    Well surely they will forfeit there settlement agreement. I believe the misguided youth think that they will make much more money in book sales. But, sometimes taking the high road is the best solution, God will surely deal with that Long character!!

    August 26, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  16. John

    Like anyone wants to buy the book of these two low-life morons who are nothing but drug dealers and common street trash. I can get all I need to know from the news.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:17 am |
    • Erik

      Street trash because they sold pot or because they were molested? Let the man without sin cast the first stone.

      August 26, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Rick

      Common street trash? Sure are a judgemental little fella, aren't you?

      August 26, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Hypocrite Logic

      You are such a good Christian. Blame and shame the victims. Protect and praise the molesters.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • That Guy

      @ Erik.. If you think money isn't the motive your're sadly mistaken.. They are exploiting the system to the fullest. They want to make as much money as they can with this issue. And I would bet money that they are being influence by others. This is just sad on both parties, but leeches will be leeches..

      August 26, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Likeathiefinthenight

      "Common street trash"? Just like the one's "Jesus" hung out with and was asked why? That is precisely the complaint that Jamal Parrish expressed. He said Mr. Long used them, and when he had no more use for them he threw them away. People like you and Eddie only live above the "common street trash" by stealing their nickles and dimes, all the while despising them. God is not mocked. Eddie Long is not the onlly "predator in the church". There are lots of "moneychangers" in the temples, looking for "common trash" to prey on. A person cannot enter one of these churches without being bombarded with folks who want to help them with their finances, invite them to wealth increasing seminars, sell them a cd and on and on. Those praying for the ones who "despitefully use them", are not praying to be used some more.

      August 27, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  17. brad

    If only the Roman Catholic Church would alllow its priests to marry, this wouldn't be happening!

    WAIT!! You say Bishop Long isn't CATHOLIC:?? You say he is MARRIED???

    OOPS!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  18. Fraud

    Praise be to the Lord. May you lift Bishop Long up with yo guidance and spirit. Hold him up with yo buoyancy of spirit. And then, my Lord, could you do us a favor and stick a pitchfork up his poop hole? Thanks you Lord for your blessed graciousness in sticking it to this fraud... Amen.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:59 am |
    • Observer

      Can I get an Amen?

      August 26, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • ImpishLisa

      Awesome prayer. Now if only we could pray like that 😉 I have a step father I'd love to see on a pedo list, but the sheriffs here won't add him because my 3 year long molestation by him predates the law. Never-mind he did it to two more girls in two families after me. I'd happily pray that he gets his throat cut and his bowels ripped out while everyone watches. Shame on me you say? Look up Righteous Indignation in the bible. 😉

      August 26, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  19. michiii

    hmmm i believr Eddie long was involve with these young man.,but they decide to settle for money to keep silence... so now they saying that they thought they could keep quiet but they cant.. are they seeking for more money? thist latest seem questionable/

    August 26, 2011 at 6:47 am |
    • Erik

      I would assume that wanting to get it out is among their motivations for talking. You people are to obsessed with money if it was just money they would have waited until the book was published..

      August 26, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • seraphine

      Yes, I think they want more money. But since when do people who were molested by a creep pretending to be a moral leader have an obligation to take the moral high ground? They should've told everyone about him from the start, but being poor and young etc the choose to take money and gifts. Now they want more really he should have no expectation that they'd keep his secrets. They we not adults at the time of these icidents and even if they were he's a bigoted hypocrite and a shame and if they want to try and capatalize on telling everyone about it "you reap what you sow".

      August 26, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Paul

      Most settlrments have a "silence" clause. If you break that clause you could be sued. So Im sure the boys know this. It makes me think that their motivation is no longer about MONEY.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  20. @akaBillClinton

    Damn shame! Eddie is a coward

    August 26, 2011 at 6:44 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.