Yet one more lawsuit has surfaced alleging sexual misconduct by Atlanta-area mega-church pastor Bishop Eddie Long. This makes four young men who have accused the popular preacher, known for his anti-gay rhetoric, of using his position of power to coerce them into sexual relationships. According to AJC.com:
Spencer LeGrande, named in a civil lawsuit filed Friday, claims he was 17 the first time the two had a sexual relationship while vacationing together in Nairobi, Kenya.
LeGrande, of Charlotte, N.C., alleges that the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor gave him an Ambien, a popular prescription sleep aid, followed by a "prolonged hug," kissing and rubbing, according to the suit.
The suit claims the two shared a bed for the remainder of their trip.
"Bishop Long categorically denies the charges," church spokesman Art Franklin said Friday. "We believe that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action. The defense team will review the complaints and respond accordingly at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum."
All of the men who have filed suit have the same lawyer, B.J. Bernstein.
Long has said he will address the allegations this Sunday during two services at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.
Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.