Update on Sexual Misconduct Case: Bishop Eddie Long and His Accusers Close to a Settlement?
Back on the block again, and I have found that there have been new developments regarding the Bishop Eddie Long case. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week:
Judge Johnny Panos said mediation between all the parties has been difficult, but that a settlement is close, perhaps even within a few days.
Panos characterized the settlement as within “field goal range.” If a settlement isn’t reached, the case could go to trial this summer.
Panos met with reporters late Friday afternoon to squelch any misinformation, he said. He confirmed that marathon mediation sessions have been taking place, at least one lasting from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning. He said the sessions, which have been ongoing since early February, have taken place at several locations, including the DeKalb County courthouse.
The mediator in the case is Gino Brogdon, a former Fulton County Superior Court judge, according to Panos. Mediation is alternative to a trial, which can be costly and lengthy. Their outcomes are also uncertain going into proceedings.
At one point, when negotiations reached a stalemate, Panos intervened, calling a meeting to encourage the parties to push through their differences.
When asked if the timing of the settlement held any significance this Holy Week, Panos said resolution and redemption have come into play.
“All these people are Christian people and they need to resolve this,” he said.
That was dated Tuesday, April 26. So far, nothing else has surfaced confirming that such a resolution has been reached. No doubt, they may still be ironing out the details, especially about the accusers–Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris, Anthony Flagg and Spencer LeGrande–never disclosing the details in public, or even about Long admitting something, anything in return. However, if the agreement falls apart, and both sides go to court, blame Eddie Long. I mean, really. Why?
No, I don’t think the young men would want more money; to me, that has never been the idea around the lawsuits. I see Long flaking out over some paltry issue that would only underscore how much he doesn’t want to be responsible for his own actions. Check out Long during a portion of his Easter sermon, still fobbing off blame and suggesting some mystical payback.
Bishop Eddie Long delivered several sermons to his congregation on Easter Sunday, avoiding any mention of the lawsuit against him or any possible settlement in the sex scandal rocking New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Throughout his sermons he appeared to have a cryptic message for his accusers. “You ain’t messin’ with me. I shall rise again and I ain’t going through this,” Long said.
His sermon comes just days after Channel 2 Action News learned the embattled megachurch pastor was close to reaching a settlement with four former church members who accused him of using his spiritual powers to engage in sexual activity.
Long never directly addressed the lawsuit or any possible settlement. Instead, he imparted apparent cryptic commentary about his accusers.
“You have to go down there and let the devil know that what they thought was gonna kill you, didn’t kill you. What they thought was gonna bring terror to you, didn’t bring terror to you and you made the enemies public spectacle,” Long said during one sermon.
Bullshit? Letting his parishioners–and the world–know that he has gained the upper hand in the negotiations? Or trying to strike fear into his young accusers about what will happen to them for their
courage temerity? Who knows? We won’t know much until the settlement is reached, if any.
What is really plain, though, is that Eddie Long’s reputation as a minister and a so-called black leader has been damaged beyond repair, as Cynthia Tucker of the AJC concluded in a recent editorial. He may not be ushered out the door of New Birth any time soon, but his ass is on record as one that cannot be trusted under any circumstances. And that might not be so bad after all for black people:
[…H]e has already lost his halo — his fancy-suited, private-jet-flying, bling-wearing persuasiveness that coaxed millions of dollars out of his parishioners over the years so he and his wife could live large. He will no longer be able to draw big crowds to his anti-gay rants without eliciting snickers and snide remarks.
His credibility has been severely strained, and a secret settlement would simply ratchet up the unease that many among his parishioners must already be feeling. Wouldn’t a man of the cloth who has been falsely accused of coercing young men into having sex with him insist on a public trial to clear his name? Didn’t Long say last year that he would “fight and fight vigorously?”
He has been accused of the worst sort of exploitation. Three of the young men say the relationships started when they were teen-agers and members of a church ministry called the “LongFellows Youth Academy.” (Did I mention Long’s narcissism?) His accusers say the minister treated them to overseas trips and/or fancy gifts in exchange for sexual favors.
Church finances have already suffered in the wake of the lawsuits. The church has laid off employees and cut salaries, according to a message posted on a church Web site in March.
Of course, there are many members who insist they don’t believe the accusers. When a popular minister is charged with wrongdoing, he can always count on the unquestioning support of some. But many members will find that the spell has been broken; Long’s aura of invincibility has faded; his air of authority, once so powerful, is greatly diminished.
Diminished, yes. It takes a long time for some people to recognize that they have been part of a cult. For the parishioners of Jonestown, for example, it took too long, too far from home, and they took even their own lives to find out the terrible truth. But Eddie Long can still do bad all by himself, with or without his celebrity connections, his dubious business and political ties, and even without his wife. A wounded reptile can still thrash around and bite.
It ain’t over until it is completely over.
The long death of the ministry of Bishop Eddie Long continues.
- Settlement near in sex lawsuit against Bishop Eddie Long (thegrio.com)
- Bishop Eddie Long Is Positive The End Is Near On His Case (newsone.com)
- Eddie Long’s Easter Message: ‘You Ain’t Messin’ With Me!’ (theroot.com)