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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. patricia

    The silence of the TD Jakes and all the Tel-evangelist rock stars is deafing. They are too busy counting their money. It's called "Look the other way prosperity."

    September 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  2. Ike

    What was truly sickening about this whole mess was when Long finally talked and said he had 5 stones and was going to fight this and the congregation gave him a standing ovation!?!?!? Man, was that revealing as to the power this sorry excuse for a preacher and human being has over his flock. A standing ovation, unbelievable.

    August 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Gordon

      Long is in your face, I can do what I want & get away with it; my "flock" will pay for anything I want & mothers will give me sons for my pleasure. So sad. Why isn't he defrocked by the baptist? Not happen in Texas they would sting him up. Where is the KKK when we need them? Rid the earth of pedohiles that the baptists condone. Really. This is absolute demonic;wolves in sheeps clothing. Anbd the New Bireth mamas just keep feeding this crrep with their boys. Are those mams paid? Sad.

      August 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  3. Ike

    .

    August 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  4. lelo

    guilty.

    August 29, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  5. HIM

    "lot churches do massive amounts of good with the money they receive..."

    But they also perpetuate ignorance and promote hateful world views at the expense of all of us. God is fiction; religion is the maintenance program that keeps you buying the fiction...

    August 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  6. Beefburger

    Well, they may loose their settlement money, but I am wondering how much they are going to make on a book deal. Outside of how much they are making as drug pushers. That sort of takes away from their moral high-ground.

    August 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Disgusted

      Did you ever think that maybe the behavioral issues that the men suffer were caused by the abuse from Eddie Long? I believe every word of their story. Men like Long you use their power over young children disgust me.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • onemore

      i do not think money is the issue here, rather justice. and a person with a religious figure trying to buy his way out. the question is how many more young boys out there he continue to abuse?

      August 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  7. The Original

    It's good that the truth of matters will be out as it is.

    August 27, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  8. 2pac

    Bishop Eddie Long shot me!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  9. R.B

    Spencer seems to be a little more grounded and In a mature place,than Jamaal ,although they are both still In alot of pain,I'm sure.Bishop Long, as well as these young men belong to our community and I have no judgements for any of them,I would just like to say- can we try to be less vocal In our opinions and get on our knees to pray and let God be Lord,Judge and King regarding this scandal."The Body " Is In a rough place right now, and we need to be Christlike more than ever this hour! The world and the devil are laughing and even the "very elect" are moving away In droves from organized religion.(Great Falling Away!) Pls...Let us pray!

    August 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  10. noworkallplay

    I guess everyone in the east is perfect. Instead of perverts the have adults who teach children to murder.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  11. HappyMeal

    You Westerners make me ill. Call yourself Christians when you are all perverts.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • The Original

      Above HappyMeal is a fake.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • one patriot

      Happy meal.....you don't seem vary happy...

      August 28, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  12. noworkallplay

    I can totally understand why these young men are speaking out now. Yes, they probably did think that the money would help make things better. But, who doesn't? Why do some of us buy lottery tickets? Religion put aside, I'm proud of them for doing this. Other young boys and men are all in danger that are spending any time with him. Without father figures he is working his way into their lives and they are trusting him. I say to these young men "DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO GET HIM OUT OF THE CHURCH AND AWAY FROM THE CHILDREN." Money talks and people can be paid to stay quiet. This is a proven fact, for example, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, etc. You know what I mean.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Gemsruby

      What drivel! You should exorcise your demons another way, I don't think this way's working for you.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  13. buddy

    It's sound like to me like one of them is still in love with the man....but is upset that other are involved....still got money but the man..

    August 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  14. william

    In a nutshell, Eddie Long is what is wrong with black "culture", just like the white evangelical charlatans are to the whites. Isn't it clear now that these guys are all in it for themselves, that this new b.s. is just like the old..."give us your money and Jesus will do wonderful things for you"? I ahte them all, and wish we could string them up by their short hairs and let those who've been given false hope pee on their $2,000 suits. Go to hell, Eddie, along with all the others like you.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Glenn

      AMEN!!!!!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  15. eerobat

    These young men think that writing a book will heal thier anger? They are mistaken. They need to forgive (very difficult I know), but that is the only healing remedy for thier hurting souls.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • juan diago

      KeyahKeron;;;;;;;
      Brothers and Sisters, The Body of Christ has lost the call of God!!! This may be funny and hilarious for people, but I am embarrassed for the Body of Christ because we are being laughed at by the world. I am very angry!!! Look at the church, we look, act, speak just like world. No more coming out from among them and being separate, touching not the unclean thing, and then I will receive you. What happened??? The church continues to sleep and that’s why all of these Bishops, Pastors, Prophets of Satan continue to deceive people because everyone wants their ears tickled and no one really wants to serve the Lord. Why isn’t anyone rebuking these so called leaders openly??? Let God be true and every man a liar!!! I loved the Lord with all of my heart and I worship only him. The church needs to repent and submit to God while there is still time. Sadly some of these leaders have already been turned over to a reprobated mind and God is done with them. God is about to pull the covers off of the whole bed. The pews are going to be pulled up and the nakedness of the church is about to be exposed because people really don’t want to serve the Lord. People was blessings and entertainment. No one is taking up their cross and following the Lord. My heart grieves knowing that people are dying everyday and going to Hell because Pastors are lying to the people preaching this foolishness that Jesus died so you can be rich with houses and cars, or Jesus died for your sins, so enjoy yourself in them. because of His grace. That’s not true. The devil is a liar!!! WAKE UP SAINTS OF GOD!!! We are in a war. The whole world is shaking and the amusement and fun continues. Blessed be the name of the Lord. God’s true remnant of people will be saved. The bible says when the Son of man returns will he find faith on the earth? The righteous will scarcely be saved, It shall be in the days of Noah! Bishops and Pastors cheating living double lives. God isn’t pleased. Some are so bold as to get caught and divorce and continue on preaching without sitting down and humbly falling before the Lord and allowing them to be restored. Pride and Greed keeps them right in that pulpit. What does if profit to gain the praises of church folks and celebrities and die and go to Hell. God will not be mocked! All of these megapastors are going to pay for what they have done to the Body of Christ. The bible says be sure that your sins will find you out!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • don

      juan diego you are only driving in the nail that religion is based soley on instilling fear into people. Way to go Koresh.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • R.B

      Well,the money and buying of silence Didn't / Isn't helping to heal their pain. I agree forgiveness IS the key,and in time they may get there.But they are still young and this Is still very fresh.This Is not something u can just fast forward thru.You get there ,when u get there! It's a process they must work their way thru! As they find their way to healing,lets be supportive.It may be a huge catharsis for them and may help many others In the process.I'd rather they get it out,however they need to vocally,than to end up with constantly troubled lives,or hanging from a tree by the throat,dead from guilt and shame! Amen

      August 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • R.B

      R.B

      Well,the money and buying of silence Didn't / Isn't helping to heal their pain. I agree forgiveness IS the key,and in time they may get there.But they are still young and this Is still very fresh.This Is not something u can just fast forward thru.You get there ,when u get there! It's a process they must work their way thru! As they find their way to healing,lets be supportive.It may be a huge catharsis for them and may help many others In the process.I'd rather they get it out,however they need to vocally,than to end up with constantly troubled lives,or hanging from a tree by the throat,dead from guilt,shame and the pain of it all ! Amen

      August 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Black Insect

      U say to forgive and forget cause thats the only way? I can think of something else....................

      August 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Sharon

      Yes, forgive, forgiveness..is the only way to heal, and the only way to do that is going to God and asking the Lord Jesus to save you, asking him to forgive you.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  16. A Matter of Faith

    Hello Mr. Long... if you are reading this blog as I think you are, I am here to say to you... Stop it!!! Stop it right now!!! I know you've got yourself in a hard place.... It is time to repent. Go back to basics. Go back to the word you fell in love with. Go back to Jesus and confess. He already knows but commands us to confess. You must allow Him to work in your life for the better. The reason you do not have the power to resist the temptation is because your salvation is not complete. Go back and do what we all are commanded. Repent, Be Baptized in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins. Receive the Holy Ghost and you will receive power. Recommit yourself to living a holy and acceptable life. It is still available to you. You can still see the Kingdom of God...but not unless you repent!. Would you really rather serve riches than serve God?

    August 26, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • guest2

      You are right that he needs to repent. He also needs to go to prison because his acts are criminal. I cant believe he is still standing in the pulpit. To the guy above who said God is getting ready to pull the blanket off this stuff, it is going to happen. Because of this pastor and others foolishness and spending all this 'tax free' money on opulence, you mark my words, the churches will lose their tax exempt status. A lot churches do massive amounts of good with the money they receive. And its fools like this that are going to do great damage to that.

      August 27, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  17. cedwards

    I get so tired of hearing about stuff like this. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in the world who are abused and taken advantage of by others. For these two to say that the money has nothing to do with them coming forward and continuing to make this a public issue is crap. There are other avenues to pursue healing of oneself than to write and publish a book. The fact that they were willing to accept a monetary settlement from him at all shows that they were in it for the money. If they are really looking for peace in life, then seek therapy and move on.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Booscilla59

      you're not too tired of it. if you were, you would not have been found here commenting. you had to search for and click on this one buddy... so stop lying.

      August 27, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  18. JT

    People need to ask the bigger question. Why woulld this shuckster "Bishop" Long make a deal of any kind if he were truly innocent? If I were falsely accused I would fight tooth and nail, not make some back room deal with the accusers.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Samii04

      Exactly, but sadly, many "christians" would rather live in denial...sad.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • R.B

      I love Eddie with the love of the Lord,but he had 5 rocks and never threw a 1,nor fought "this thing", like he said he would.He just laid his rocks down and relented.Perhaps he just let go and gave It to God,for he knew he was already judged In the court of public opinion.So why drag this thru the mud and prolong the pain,especially for his family? Ppl we have no heaven or hell to put anyone In.Reserve judgement.Soon enuff ,we'll all stand before God and give an account of our own messes,and not Eddie Long"s nor anyone elses.Let Us pray!

      August 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Glenn

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • guest2

      Sam, living in denial is a human thing, not a 'christian' thing. And since Christians are human too, they are subject to the same problems/emotions that everyone else is subject to.

      August 27, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  19. Amatteroffaith

    Imagine what it must feel like to have to watch while Mr. Long continues to prosper knowing he has done wrong by these men, his congregation and most importantly by God and you cannot say anything about it. These men are watching while Mr. Long continues to lead people to hell. He has by his actions basically told his followers that you do not have to admit and repent and confess, contrary to what the scriptures he's preaching from say. There would be no amount of money that would hold me back from blabbing the whole thing!!! Vengance is Mine sayeth the Lord.... He can do much worse than these men can do. It won't be Long now...(parden the pun!)

    August 26, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • JT

      I just wonder why you religious types always need some leader to follow. Once you believe in these absurd myths and then look to someone else to tell you how to live you are putty in their grubby hands. Must be awful to suffer from such delusions.

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

      You want me to tell you why organizations need leaders? Every successful organization has a leadership team. Whether you hold that leader accountable for their actions that affect the organization is at question here. No man is above God. When you give that leader undeserved sway in your life and put him in place of the relationship you should have with God himself is where people get lost. If he were a true Pastor, he would not even want his congregation thinking of him in that way.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  20. CC

    I just think it is time to let sleeping dogs lye. If you know you are a Christian you should also know that you will not be vendicated here on earth. This is for God to handle. I look at the video and looking at these two young men I say maybe if you would pull your darn pants up around your behind you would not send the wrong message of being available to men. It is so easy to blame others for our actions but there is too much informatio available for these things to happen to guys as old as they are. I agree get your buts in school and learn something and maybe you will not find yourselves in these type of situations.In the end we are all accountable for our actions. There are too many young men out here without Fathers that are successful in life for me to feel sorry for these boys. Start with the man in the mirror the hard stuff.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Amatteroffaith

      That's it.....deflect the fault on to the victims rather than the perpetrator... always an easy thing to do. What do you think should be the consequences of Mr. Longs actions? Should we just sweep it under the carpet? Really? I'm tired of these supposed "Men of God" getting away with this stuff. It happened to me as a Teen so I know of what they speak... These men use there influence and their supposed relationship with God to manipulate the naive. Thanks for being so forgiving of the criminal and not excersizing that same forgiveness to the victims.... you should be ashamed of yourself!

      August 26, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Sandee

      CC I am surprised at how fickle you are in your thinking. So the wear their pants low and you think they deserved what happened to them? wow, wow. God pronounces judgement and vengeance is His. If Long is guilty, trust me, he cannot sleep at nights and unless his wife is greedy, she too will come out and speak – she either knows the truth or suspects. The fools are the congregants who are still filling this man's coppers. Long will be dealt with accordingly and justice will prevail if not here on earth, then in the after life.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • R.B

      At 14 these boys never saw It coming,nor did they expect It. Attention,time and gifts? They were Impressionable due to naivity and no life experience.The subtle art of seduction Is easy when u r working with minds not yet fully developed.It coulda happened to anyone.Even tho ppl say ,"they were old enuff to know better!" It's still NOT their fault! And It's NOT that cut 'n dry.You must never blame the child,or the victim. It's the adult,or the fault of the abuser–ALWAYS! Now they have learned from the school of hard knocks,unfortunately.So...what do their sagging pants (culture) really have to do with anything at this point? They are adults now.But,Jamaal has not been wise with his choices since because he's still hurt and confused.Its understandable.But don't just dismiss them because of those who had no fathers,but still turned out sucessful! How Insensitive,arrogant and Idiotic is that?!!! SMH

      August 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Glenn

      Wake up you dumb idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 8:21 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.