In the course of interviewing young congregants at the Atlanta area mega-church pastored by Bishop Eddie Long, CNN anchor Don Lemon disclosed on a live newscast Saturday night, “I am a victim of a pedophile.
“Let me tell you what got my attention about this, and I have never admitted this on television. I’m a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me, and those are the things that they do,” Lemon told the three congregants, who had been unwavering in their support of the bishop during the interview.
“Four people have come up with the exact same stories,” Lemon told them. “That’s what pedophiles do. The language, ‘This isn’t going to make you gay if you do this.’ “
“When I look at different pedophiles, as you said, I don’t see bishop as one,” Gabrielle A. Richardson replied. “If you look at the various things he’s done for the community and young people in general, no.”
Gary A. Foster said, “I support the minister because the minister has supported me. He’s my leader and it is our duty to stand behind our prophet, and that’s what I will continue to do until he gives me reason not to.”
“I’m not saying the bishop is a pedophile, but no one is perfect,” Lemon replied, adding that many in the congregation have not even “put into their mind” that “something there might be inappropriate.” He concluded with a request that “you should stand behind your bishop but you should all keep an open mind” and concluded, “as I’ve been saying all week, there are no winners in this situation.”
The newscast took place a day before Long, standing before thousands of supportive congregants vowed to “vigorously” defend himself against the accusations of four young men who claim he coerced them into sex, as Gracie Bonds Staples, Shelia M. Poole and Craig Schneider reported for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Long went on to say he has never portrayed himself as a perfect man. ‘But I am not the man being portrayed on the television. … That’s not me. That’s not me.’ “