Sheila M. Poole and Christian Boone of AJC.com are reporting that a settlement has been reached in the four lawsuits alleging sexual coercion that were filed against Bishop Eddie Long. Attorneys involved in the lawsuits against Long, the LongFellows Youth Academy and the 25,000-member Lithonia mega-church said that the cases had been settled but declined to comment further. They are expected to be dismissed "with prejudice" — meaning that the defendant cannot be sued by the plaintiffs again in the same alleged offense — by close of business Friday, said Barbara Marschalk, who represents New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellows Youth Academy.
B.J. Bernstein, who represents Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson — the men who sued Long, New Birth and the academy — also confirmed that the lawsuits had been settled. The academy was named in three of the suits.
Long, pastor of the Lithonia mega-church, which has an international following, had denied the men's allegations through a spokesman shortly after they became public in September, and told his congregation that he planned to "vigorously" fight them. The accusations made against Long alleged that the bishop used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce the men into sexual relations.
Long is off the hook, literally and figuratively, although we don't know how much it cost him to silence his accusers. How interesting is it that even though Judge Johnny Pasos said that a settlement was unlikely just two weeks ago, it actually happened? This just goes to show that if you have enough money and power, silence can be bought so that you can get back to business as usual.
Read more at AJC.com.
In other news: Black Gay HIV Outreach Ditches 'Homoboy' Gimmick.