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. Ray

    Another FALSE PROPHET exposed!

    August 26, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  2. tyler

    I've been following this story since it first broke last year...while I was sympathetic towards them at first, now it is quite apparent that these two guys are in it for the money. Making an agreement with this pastor, and now reneging on it, it absolutely destroys their credibilty. What Long did with them might be true, but their way of handling the story proves their lack of trustworthiness. I'm sure they'll make plenty of money. That's too bad, since it seems like money and "bling" have been their focus all along.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • money

      that they are writing a tell-all book
      This is the root of it all

      August 26, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • carolyn

      Let me see if I got this right- you think this young man settled a lawsuit for millions only to risk losing it because he wants to make money from books that probably won't sell as much as he won. Oh ye of limited thinking mechanism's.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  3. andrew

    Money does not buy happines?? Money can buy you a Jetski
    Have you ever seen a sad person on one of them?

    August 26, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Kevin

      HERE HERE!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Aaron

      That's funny! Thanks for the laugh.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Doug


      August 26, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Rob

      Beautifully said.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  4. Scott in Atlanta

    Not at all a fan of Eddie Long. I don't believe he and many others preach the truth of the gospel but instead fleece the flock: my opinion because I know how to read for myself. But it strikes me as odd how many non-believers spend sooooooooo much time on a "Belief" blog???

    It's also unfortunate, that because man (who we know is flawed) does something wrong, God ultimately gets all the blame... Well, that's okay. God is big enough to handle your ridicule and you'll get the opportunity to tell Him to His face one day, whether you believe it or not. Like gravity... You don't have to believe in it, but if you jump off the roof... I'm jus say'n... But just one note: MAN IS NOT THE STANDARD... CHRIST IS THE STANDARD!!! There's a reason for that.

    If I'm wrong, I've just wasted a couple of years of my life trying to live a more moral life... If you're wrong though... Just dang...

    August 26, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • barabbas2010

      Even a non-Christian knows what you are describing is not faith. You are making Pascal's wager. You are willing to bet there is a God and a Hell out of fear, not faith. Your self-description is decidedly non-Christian. Just say'n ......

      August 26, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      @Barrabas2010 (Every since your ill-thought-out release, you've been raise'n a ruckus...lol) I know what I believe... And I'm not willing to scrap my FAITH for yours... (good try though) And according to the Probability Theory resulting from Pascal's wager, neither side of this argument can be definitively proven. THATS WHY ITS CALLED FAITH. (The subtance of things hoped for and the EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN) I know what I hope for... Do you have any hope?

      Even your non-belief is a faith, but I'd rather go with my own, thanks.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Rob

      Barabbas is right, your words reveal that you claim a faith in Jesus Christ to avoid the possible punishment for not doing so. Your faith is based on men, you heard from men what to believe, you accepted from men what to believe, and now you teach what men taught you to teach. You worship mankind all around. All Christians should demand what God has promised, a personal relationship with the being of God, not believes in promises found in books, and beliefs taught by friends who claim to believe. If you personally knew God then you would never speak of any possibility of being wrong, because there would be no possibility. But you know good and well like the rest of us, you have never spoke to God personally. Or more specifically, God has never personally dialoged with you or told you what this "truth" is. You accept truth as it is told to you by humans, and a book that was written and published by humans. As to your claim that we who do not believe have no hope; this is a complete falsehood. I have hope that there is a future for mankind, that we will overcome the obstacles that confront us. Disease, wars, hatred, famine, land, all these things I hope and strive for daily to overcome. One doesn't need a half-baked belief in God to hope for a better future, and to put effort into such an endeavor. And even better, we don't have a self-fulfilling prophecy hanging over our head promising an unavoidable violent destruction. And to your point of asking why non-believers would read the faith blog? Because we have to keep an eye on the "faithful" because they are always trying to overstep their bounds and take away the freedom we earned.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      @Rob Good try...lol Are you seeking too? Again sir, I know what I believe and that seems to threaten you... I'm sorry you feel that way. Also, for you to feel you have to "Keep an eye on us" is okay too. I don't mind. My prayer is that I live my life in such a way as to point even you to the cross. But ultimately, I'm most thankful that my belief does not require your approval.

      Even though you're a man... and you're teaching... and preaching... on this blog, I'll stick with my own faith and what God tells me specifically through his word. I love how he communicates with us... And gave us language in order to do it...

      August 26, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Rob

      Nope just answering your questions you posed throughout your posts. I could care less what you believe as long as it doesn't affect me.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      @Rob Thanks for being interested in the things of God even if only to play the "devils advocate"...lol I started out the same way as a matter of fact. Unfortunately for you, I do have a desire to affect you. I pray that should you ever have a need in life, that a TRUE follower of Christ would effort or even sacrifice to help meet that need in love. (whether you believe or not)

      God is love. And the definition of Love:

      Giving the most, to someone who deserves it the least, at great personal costs to one's self, without expectation of recieving ANYTHING in return... Yes, God taught me that love is a verb: an action word. You don't "feel" it... You DO it to others. Do God to someone today!

      Be blessed Rob (Even if you don't want to)

      August 26, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  5. P-Pat

    A few grams less and it would have been concidered for personal use. I'm a forgiving soul but he couldnt be my pastor anymore.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • william

      He's a pimp.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  6. Objecttothis

    Interesting. If you don't care if the book sells a single copy then why are you writing it? I kinda wonder if this isn't less about your healing process and more about replenishing your bank accounts after you spent all the hush money you got. If you want healing go to a counselor. Getting your book deal doesn't bring healing, it just means you make money off writing about it.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Tony

      Ain't that the Truth.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  7. Ray

    I wonder where this "bishop" got his PhD in theology?

    August 26, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Aaron

      That would be a "ThD"

      August 26, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  8. Michael T Murphy

    Another Great Pastor caught in the sin He so hated. Must be some thing about calling the kettle black, so to speak, then it turns to bite you in the butt. Charlatans all of them with ego's to match

    August 26, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • P-Pat


      August 26, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Objecttothis

      Man, what is it with people lumping everyone into one category. How would you like it if everyone compared atheists to Stalin? Think about what you're saying man. You accuse all Christians of being megalomaniacs when that's very obviously a bias you have. How about this idea: if you have a real argument let's put that on paper instead of veiled (or not so veiled) name calling. 5th grade was a long time ago.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  9. asche

    i love how people like to suggest people aren't 'credible' because they've done something wrong in their life. uh, if that makes someone not credible then absolutely no one can be trusted ever, not ever. oh wait.. i guess we're all in the same boat after all.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  10. NCKey

    I think that those young men could have stop his advances in his tracks. Some people get into relationships without thinking about the consequences that the person might not want them any more. The Bishop should truthful to his members so they would know the truth. Finally, they decided to tell when the bishop wanted to move on.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Gort01

      I think youre ignorant. and insensitive and uneducated. Pedophiles and abusers arent like the rest of us and they dont think like we do. The are predators and have a way of finding their prey and holding on to them. So you need to keep your ignorant comments and insensitive remarks to yourself.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Pam

      They were teenagers when this happened and he was in a position of authority. Your comment is extremely naive at best.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • db

      How? How can a kid who looks up to a man he considers his father stop him? How?

      August 26, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  11. yrush007

    ohhhhhhh... when God comes back!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  12. thomas

    So can't people have a change of heart.. I think we should keep our ears and hearts open an see and hear what really comes out. Everyone is entiltled to their own opinion. My feeling is if there is nothing to it, get the money back and go to court and let the judge or jury decide. Of course, we know that people will make their own uninformed decisions

    August 26, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Ray

      he made a settlement?/ really?? and just WHOSE money was used in this pedophile's settlement?? the blind sheep that followed him and contributed to his amassed wealth. This is just ANOTHER example of a false prophet leading the blind down and off a cliff. He should be in Jail and his followers need their heads examined.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  13. Bull Crap

    He couldn't keep quiet any longer? He couldn't hold in the pain anymore?

    Ok... Let me just say this much... Yes... there's pain that was caused by this alleged incident. I say alleged, because they never went to court, and settling doesn't necessarily mean guilt, but perhaps just avoidance of damage to image.

    Having said that... dude... you got the freaking money. Now you can't hold it in?

    Why don't you say the damn truth. You want more damn money. Isn't that what it's all about?

    I'm not denying he had/has pain. But come on... he's/they're taking their pain and profiting it from it.

    Don't say it was because "oh, the pain was too much to hold in." Bull crap. Say the truth... you wanted the money.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • yahkk

      Bam! you hit it right on da head dude! "It'sll about the Benjamins"! May God have mercy on us all!

      August 26, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  14. Chad

    Yeah, through that arrest of Parris' in right at the end of the article to leave the reader with the final assumption that he's a drug-dealing, gun-toting felon who's probably lying about Long. Good journalism, CNN.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  15. thomas

    So what does one thing have to do with another.. There are 2 individuals on the video.... God is no respecter of person. Seems like theremay be some truth to this.. The money doesn't seem to matter.. We'll see if the reverend sues for his money back.That will speak volumes

    August 26, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  16. Bob

    My prayers are with you gentlemen. Remember drag pastor Eddie Long down in the mud will not heal you either. I also pray for a heart conversion for pastor Eddie Long. If he claims to be David he needs to humble himself and acknowledge his wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. Isn't it what he's been preaching, money can't buy forgiveness nor salvation. I hope pastor Eddie Long will do the right thing and help these youg men to heal. My advice to pastor Young, meditate on psalm 51.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Yemmy

      "drag Pastor Long" OMG, is he in drag too??? Oh No, Say it ain't so!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  17. Amon Ptah

    How can you trust a dope dealing, gun totting thug? I'm not taking Long's side but Parris's credibility is gone as far as I'm concerned.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • A. Goodwin

      Perhaps his past contributed to what he is doing now...hummm...

      August 26, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Pam

      Predators often choose those who are most vulnerable to abuse, making them even more vulnerable. More than likely Parris' path now is a direct result of the abuse he endured when he was younger and hopefully he'll seek help in dealing with this. If writing a book helps, then more power to him.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • carolyn

      Bull Crap blogger- Child abuse victim's often exhibit all kinds of negative behavior as a result of the excrutiating mind and body assault from an abuser; especially when that abuser is a trusted adult. I am a child abuse survivor and expereinced year's of self hatred, shame ; guilt that led to alcohol abuse & misguided promiscuity thoughout much of my adult life. I am 57 years old now and there are still moments when I feel I can't stand naked in the rain to get the filth off my body and out of my mind. I don't know if you have children; if you do, I sincerely hope they have someone other than you to help them; if God forbid; some repropate violates them the way Long did those boys.
      I find your comments -ignorant, mean spirited and totally insensitive.
      Something is spiritually wrong about a person who has so little compassion for the suffering of the children in all of us.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  18. Paul N Destin

    Thanks LBJ for your great society.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  19. arthurrrrr

    181 grams = 6.5 ounces.

    August 26, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  20. Casey

    181 grams isn't that much...

    August 26, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • paul

      6.3 ounces "not that much"? Sorry bud, he's a dealer for sure.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • rizzo

      No, Paul, it's not that much at all.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • P-Pat

      Paul I have a scale for you. LOL

      August 26, 2011 at 9:02 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.