New Birth Missionary Baptist Church continues to defend its embattled Pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, who stands accused of using his excessive influence over young men in his ministry by coercing them into providing him with sexual favors in return for cash and lavish gifts.
The plaintiffs, Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20, of DeKalb County, filed lawsuits against Long and his ministry on Tuesday.
In an interview with Roland Martin on the Tom Joyner Morning Show this morning, the plaintiff’s attorney B.J. Bernstein laid out her shaky case against Long.
At one point she said Long urged the boys to text him photos of themselves fully clothed. “What’s wrong with that?, Martin responded.
She alleged that one of the plaintiffs approached Bishop Long last May for counseling after his friend died, “Instead, the bishop makes a move on him.”
Bernstein also said she would subpoena Long’s phone records, e-mail and travel itinerary to bolster her case.
In other words: she has no evidence to support her case other than the dubious statements of the boys — one of whom was charged with breaking into New birth Missionary church back in July.
Listen to B.J. Bernstein on TJMS:
Art Franklin, the head of public relations for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church called into the V-103 Frank and Wanda Morning show this morning to categorically deny the allegations against Long.
Franklin said the church found out about the allegations through the media. “We have not actually been served any copies of the lawsuits,” he told Frank Ski, who is a staunch supporter of Long and a longtime member of New Birth Missionary Baptist church.
Rumor has it that Franklin himself was caught up in a similar sex scandal when his wife divorced him, citing extramarital affairs — with other men.
Listen to Art Franklin on V-103:
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Meanwhile, industry insiders are whispering that the allegations contained in the lawsuits are just the tip of the iceberg. “This is about to be Tiger Woods part 2,” said one source who is close to the New Birth camp.
The source said Long was often seen in the company of young boys who he wined and dined in fancy restaurants.
“These boys are older now and they are no longer getting money from the church,” said the source, indicating that more lawsuits will soon follow.
New Birth took down its website last night, most likely to scrub the website of pictures or other damaging info that might hurt their case.