Bishop Long settles sex suits out of court

May 27, 2011

Bishop Eddie Long, an Atlanta-area megachurch pastor, has settled
suits out of court with four young men who accused him of sexual
misconduct, his church has announced.

"After a series of
discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil
cases out of court," Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church said in
the May 26 statement. "This decision was made to bring closure to this
matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this
ministry." B. J. Bernstein, who represented Long's accusers, confirmed
the resolution.

Long, 58, denied the accusations in suits filed
last September by the men, all in their early twenties. The four men
alleged that Long plied them with presents and trips abroad and seduced
them into sexual acts.

In another development, Bernice King,
daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr., said May 31 that she is
leaving Long's church. "When I came to New Birth I came for a season and
I expected that season not to be quite as long as it was," King said in
a radio interview.  The 2006 funeral of her mother, Coretta Scott King,
was held at New Birth.

King, who did not tie her departure to the
scandal, said she had told Long in April that she would be leaving at
the end of May. After declining the presidency of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference in January, King said she feels called to a new
assignment. "I'm not calling it a church right now," she said.  —RNS