The pastor of a Georgia megachurch Sunday spoke for the first time about accusations that he sexually abused several young men, vowing to “vigorously” fight the allegations.
“This thing I’m gonna fight,” Bishop Eddie Long told the thousands of congregants who gathered Sunday at his new Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., for the two morning services.
Long, 57, said he had never portrayed himself as a perfect man, “But I am not the man that’s being portrayed on the television. That’s not me,” he said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Last week Long released a statement saying he was “anxious” to respond the “false” accusation, but Sunday he didn’t discuss the specifics of the cases or outright deny the allegations.
Since last week, four men have filed lawsuits against Long, alleging he exploited his “spiritual authority” and used trips and gifts to seduce them into sexual relationships, published reports said. All four men were either 17 or 18 years old at the time the alleged abuse began.
The suit seeks unspecified damages, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.
Long yesterday promised his cheering supporters to be back at the pulpit next week and went on to compare his current struggle to the biblical story of David and Goliath.
“I have five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet,” Long said.