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. Jesus Is Lord

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Amatteroffaith

      I believe the scripture says: Repent and be baptised everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. just sayin....

      August 26, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Rick

      Free people do not need to be saved, only slaves

      August 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  2. Carolinian

    In the eye of GOD........What was done was WRONG, no matter how you slice the pie..........So many youth are being munipulated, charmed, and confused. This world itself is confusing enough. Why would you settled out of court if you were GUILTY. Rembember none of us can feel the PAIN those young mens are going through.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  3. Mrprofessor

    Writing a book is not going to help heal. If these young men are that broken they need to go and sit down with a professional counselor and work through this. This happens in the privacy of your own session with a counselor. Healing is there for these young men but you have to lose that victim mentality. If you chose to be a victim for the remainder of your life then do it. Do not bring the world into the victimized issues you as an individual chose to have. Be healed and restored.

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

      Writing (keeping a journal) is also healing. I do it all of the time.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Amatteroffaith

      So what you are basically advising is that these men continue to keep their stories hidden so that a known pedofile can go about his business and possibly molest again? I say, throw the covers off of this devil and expose him for who and what he is by any means necessary. You never know who's life you could be saving by exposing that scoundral. He may have plans for your young son...I'm just saying!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Professor

      The exposing of the devil has already been done in this situation. Now there needs to be healing and restoration for every individual that is involved. This includes but not limited to their families, his wife, the church, the general public etc. If these men are going to go into great detail about this situation nationally then that is not Biblical. Eph 5:12 (NLT) It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. They need to be restored.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  4. Bad Preaching

    I can't wait for the book!

    August 26, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Carolinian

      I can't wait for the book either, I used to enjoy his sermon, but I always wonder why he got to wear those muscle shirts, showing all the Bi's & Tri's. That's what attracted me was those biceps/triceps, WOW. The Word of GOD.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Professor

      This is what the Bible says about that.. Eph 5:12 (NLT) It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Amatteroffaith

      Eph 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Amatteroffaith

      Let's just put this into context: Eph 5:11- 5:14 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

      August 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Professor

      The “fruitless deed” have already been exposed. Since is has been exposed it should be delt with by spiritual leadship and covering. Now there is no need to go into further detial about what happened ie a (tell all book). We should not be talking about what they did in private but rather praying for restoration for all individuals involved.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  5. Lola

    Why does everyone believe this hypocrite? And for him to focus on the troubles of these young men is ludicrous since he caused them to have these drug and alcohol problems. They are trying to block out his disgusting touch.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  6. DaleH

    Did it really happen? Probably. But, did you take money and make an agreement to NEVER MENTION IT AGAIN? If you did, and now you are breaking that oath, you are no different than Long or any other. This does nothing except line someone's pockets with cash. Money is the root of all evil. If you want to tell all, then return the money, cancel the contractual agreements, and get to talking. Otherwise, shut up as you promised. Long will fall on his on, and he doesn't need more nudges from this same group.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Rick

      They are no better than Long? Are you serious? Gosh, you seem to have a F'd up sense of priorities

      August 26, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      "The LOVE of money is the route of all evil." is the actual quote. The love of it, and what you'll do to get it when you're in love with it...

      August 26, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      Money is neither good or bad. It's neutral. But what it does is allow more, and easier access to the opportunities of sin that are already swirling around in your flesh. With money, unfortunately you have the means to realize some of those fleshly desires. If you're not grounded in faith and adhering to a core set of moral principals, you soon find yourself way off track and financing your own destruction. Weights and besetting sins will be yours for the taking. And you'll take'em too...

      August 26, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Lola

      DaleH, really? You are messed up to believe they are as bad as a role model, married, supposedly "serving God" minister who molested them. They are victims, point/blank/period. It is so typical of people to blame the victim. She wanted it, she shouldn't have worn that dress, she shouldn't have been on that street to get to work. PLEASE!!

      August 26, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  7. pmeadows

    I'm not saying this Pastor didn't do anything, but these guys pointing all the fingers don't seem like the most credible couple of guys, just sayin...Either way it doesn't look good for Eddie Long. A pastor should do everything he can to protect himself from any kind of situation that would look compromising.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Michelle

      OR.... they are two individuals caught in a world of hurt and pain inflicted on them by a trusted adult. Is it really a surprise an abused person with no support goes on a downward spiral? No, not at all. With talking and writing, it is my hope these two can start to heal.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Lola

      Michelle is so right. Stop blaming the victim!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Dzerres

      Blaming the victims?

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

      No one should blame the victim....but a teen boy knows another man shouldnt be touching him so....

      August 26, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  8. mouse

    and the sheeple.....well it ain't the pastors fault those boys were being mentored and they should take the good with the very, very evil!

    August 26, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  9. mouse

    and this is why atheists are MORE moral.....we know we can't blame the devil, it's all on us. What I do right or wrong I take responsiblity for, period.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • billybobhendrix

      your logic is flawless

      August 26, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      Athiest...lol Sure do put a lot of time in on the "Belief blog" don't you?

      August 26, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Chris

      Of course by their logic we are no good evil doers. Psalms 14:1

      August 26, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  10. TXJim

    I think they figure they can make more money from the book than from the settlement.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • Wilser

      I was thinking the same thing but the only people that would care about the book are nosey church folk.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  11. TT

    They're liars. I still don't believe that Bishop Long had any dealings with these clowns but to mentor them and they saw an opportunity to milk him. They see him as a "cash cow" and they're milking him all the way to the bank. My heart goes out to him and his family as they move past this awful phase of his life. If these idiots are lying, they will have to deal with God's judgement. Once he settled out of court, there should have been a clause for them not to write or publish any further material about the situation - now they want to "cash in" on this book. One of their other cohorts was just arrested in
    Florida for intent to distribute drugs, please this is all made up. Hope lying was really worth going to Hell for!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Rick

      If he was just "mentoring" them, why did he not fight it?

      August 26, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • CrimsonSky

      That guy Long looks as gay as it gets, there are been so many pictures of him surfacing with outfits that only a flamer would wear.. accusations are swirling around him and yet the flock is in denial!! Believe his liars please, he's been laughing his way to the banks for years, and he know he can continue to lie and manipulate, he will get away with it. His flock of lambs.. his flock of idiots!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Lola

      TT, you must belong to his church. Pull the scales off of your eyes. HE DID THIS! The young men are victims. Is it unusual for children who have been molested to end up on drugs or in a troubled life? No, it happens all of the time. When he goes down, so will those who support him.

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

      You are Blind! There would be no reason to "settle" if there was no guilt. There were a total of 5 accusers who were part of the settlement. If there was no guilt, then I'm sure Mr. Long and his faithful congregants could have funded quite the court battle hiring a top notch defense team to defend him. This is what Long promised he would do to defend his honor...he did not!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Dzerres

      Really? Facts be damned – "I believe, brother". I guess if you can believe the earth is only 6,000 years old and that man walked with the dinosaurs and that someone rose up after being dead for 3 days; you'll believe that this drag queen, Long, is "innocent". Please. By that argument so are a couple of thousand Catholic priests.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Yemmy

      Way to go, TT... spoken like a devout member of New Birth! LOL!

      August 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I strongly suspect Long is guilty of some serious misdeeds. But those who keep insinuating that only the guilty ever settle a case are simply not in touch with the reality of a very imperfect justice system. I do wonder whether these guys coming forward violates the terms of the settlement. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

      August 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  12. Bob Rock

    Sounds to me like they are all thugs. Eddie Long and the rest of the bunch. Great makings of a movie I'd never go to see, but maybe other would! 🙂

    August 26, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  13. mouse

    Awe...when thou doest protest too much me thinkith someone shady is going on under the table.........geez, no wonder these rediculous religions are going the way of the dinosaur, not even the devoutly religious can control themselves and they supposedly have their fairy god to help them....

    August 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  14. teremist

    Eddie Long will have some explaining to do, before God. Until then apparently he is above the law, and can continue conning the congregation and living large. His victims do deserve compensation, but that will not help them to heal. Part of healing is refusing to allow their victimization to define them, and deciding to set and achieve goals that will carry them into a positive future. I wish them well.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  15. Parris

    I needed to make money

    August 26, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  16. bon

    another gay molesting preacher with followers in denial. I think the ratio of wicked pedophile preachers to good wholesome preachers is about 2:1 now. Religion is in its finest form.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  17. MD

    It always seems those who preach the loudest and continuely condemn others, are the ones doing what they preach against. Eddie Long is a hypocrit and a loser. He is NOT a good person.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Carolinian


      August 26, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  18. Skegeeace

    If they donate all the proceeds to abuse counseling centers, I think it'll go better for them in public opinion...

    August 26, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  19. Valerie Robinson

    Obviously these young men were tramatized, and abused (and yes adults/teenagers can be abused also) but that is no justification for breaking the law (intent to sell drugs). Go get you education, relocated, get counseling start the healing process and be a testimony for others who have been through what you have and not a statistic. Its' what you do with your experiences not what the experiences do to you. Man up now.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • gingersrule1

      Not before making some money on a book of which I'm sure many would like to read. I hope he's fired because if I were God, which I'm not, I would fire him. He needs some serious help and I hope he asks God for forgiveness for committing such acts against children every day of his life. Still we must forgive him, especially if he asks for it, and at least in our hearts so as not to perpetuate this endless cycle of hate and destruction on our planet of people. When the ancient prophets spoke of the blasphemy and arrogance of the end times it becomes ever more obvious that he was talking directly to us in our time. So many things happening it becomes easy to get overwhelmed by the all encompassing nature of bad happenings. Surround yourselves with love and move past the bad and then find solace in knowing that God spoke of these times through his prophets and that humanity is redeemed through the life of Jesus. Jesus was a role model for us to live our lives by his example or why else would God stand on earth as a man? Many of the Jewish people didn't believe he was their redeemer because they were taught that the messiah would be a wrathful vengeful God who came down to smite their enemies. In Isaiah he explains how Gods son would come to bring peace to the world, not through violence or like some great sweeping hand that cleanses the earth of evil, but through the spread of peace and love. Many people Jesus encountered and those who questioned were often told they must give up their selfish desires for the will of God. Naturally as more people would do this the effect on society would look selfless in nature and we would see good people doing good things every day. Instead we watch the overdramatization of the pain that has been caused with wide open eyes. We hunger for misery like starving wolves in a pack. Love is the only way. So please pull up your damned pants.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  20. Moneymoney

    that they are writing a tell-all book
    There is the ticket...

    August 26, 2011 at 9:17 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.