It’s been seven years since four young men went public with accusations that their mentor, Bishop Eddie Long, used his position, wealth and fame to coerce them into sexual relationships.
Now, 18 months after the controversial pastor’s death from an aggressive form of cancer, the alleged victims’ story will finally be told — with a twist.
Spencer LeGrande told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is collaborating, along with some of Long’s other accusers from a 2010 lawsuit, on a novel.
The roman a clef — “Foursaken” — centers around a scandal involving the charismatic preacher of a thriving megachurch. While technically a work of fiction, LeGrande said there should be no doubt the sordid tale of power and betrayal is one they experienced firsthand.
“The last man standing is the strongest,” said LeGrande, now 30 and living in Charlotte.
LaGrande, along with former New Birth Missionary Baptist Church members Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg and Jamaal Parris, shared similar accounts about their relationship with Long, who, they alleged, filled a void left by absent or abusive fathers.
An undisclosed financial settlement reached in 2011, after a fifth accuser, Centino Kemp, came forward, prevents them from discussing Long or New Birth.
The 2010 civil lawsuit claimed Long used “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.”
Each alleged that, once they reached the age of consent, Long coerced them into sexual relationships. Though he agreed to pay for their silence, Long continued to deny their allegations.
SOURCE: Christian Boone and Shelia M. Poole
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution