After he was accused of sexually molesting young fatherless boys in the church, she filed for divorce in December Two of the men had accused Long of grooming them for sexual relationships through the church's LongFellows Youth Academy. Right now, it's allegations. The allegations have especially surprised the community that knows Long best. Echoing his comments after the first two lawsuits, he said, "We believe that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action. The church said it grew from members to more than 25, under Long's leadership and became one of the nation's largest congregations.
Atlanta-area radio host Frank Ski, a year-member of Long's church, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had "extreme support" for the man he's known for more than a decade. When you're a friend and I support you, I support you. LeGrande said Long agreed to be a father figure for him because his own father was an absentee father, according to court documents, and that Long began asking LaGrande to call him "dad. Long vigorously denied the allegations and in Houston was awarded custody of the then 2-year-old son. The allegations have especially surprised the community that knows Long best. The church operated television and international ministries, and built satellite churches in several cities, including Miami, Denver, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Eight months later, Long settled the cases out of court for an undisclosed amount and has never admitted any wrongdoing. Spencer LaGrande, 22, filed suit against Long and his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and, like the other three alleged victims, accused the powerhouse pastor of forcing him into a sexual relationship while treating him to trips around the world, travel in private planes and stays in luxury hotels. In , the church hosted then-President George W. Martin Luther King Jr. The lawsuit alleges several more instances of sexual contact, both before and after LaGrande graduated from high school. Long was a Christian author, a gospel singer and was also known for preaching and practicing a "prosperity gospel" in which the faithful would be rewarded with wealth. Two of the men had accused Long of grooming them for sexual relationships through the church's LongFellows Youth Academy. Church members coming out of Bible study said they simply didn't believe the allegations, speaking of Long's love and passion for his wife. According to the separate lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, Ga. Many people at the church knew what was going on but covered for Long, victims claimed. She and her son allegedly "had to flee the couple's Fairburn home in order to ensure their safety". Echoing his comments after the first two lawsuits, he said, "We believe that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action. Bernstein, the lawyer for the four men, has said she has photos, texts and e-mails that show a relationship between her clients and the bishop. Long, a prominent pastor who led one of metro Atlanta's largest churches, died Jan. After that, some congregation members changed their opinion of him, but many others continued to rally around the charismatic leader. Under Long, membership grew to 25, Although the allegations against New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Long appear damning, some church members refuse to believe they could be true. The accusations, according to court documents, also claim that Long would try to block sexual relationships the young men had with women. The couple have a son, Edward Long. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist since , Long oversaw the church's explosive growth with membership swelling from a modest to 25,
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2010: Bishop Long's sex case mediation
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