One of Atlanta megachurch pastor’s accusers tells TV interviewer Bishop Long is a ‘predator’By AP
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
One of Bishop’s accusers calls Long a ‘predator’
ATLANTA — One of the young men accusing a megachurch pastor of coercing him into a sexual relationship told a TV interviewer he loved the pastor, but nevertheless called him a “predator.”
“I loved him and I’m always going to have love for the things he taught us, but how he left us hurt worse than anything I ever felt in my life,” Jamal Parris told Atlanta’s Fox TV affiliate WAGA in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
Parris is one of four men suing Bishop Eddie Long in state court, claiming that he abused his “spiritual authority” and gave them cars, clothes, cash and trips to lure them into sexual relationships while they were teen members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta.
When a reporter approached Parris outside a convenience store in Colorado, Parris at first was reluctant to speak, then, told WAGA he considers Long a predator who exploited his dreams for a father figure in exchange for sexual favors.
“This man turned his back on us when he had no more need for us,” he told Fox. “That’s not a father, that’s a predator.”
During services at his church Sunday, Long turned to biblical terms to portray himself as an underdog but didn’t outright deny the allegations.
“I feel like David against Goliath. But I got five rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet,” said Long, who added that while he doesn’t claim to be perfect, “I am not the man that’s being portrayed on the television.”
In the TV interview, a vehement Parris said Long manipulated boys under the guise of providing a fatherly influence.
He said that Long “manipulated us from childhood,” referring to himself and the other accusers, identified as Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg and Spencer LeGrande.
“This was our father and we loved him,” Parris said.
He described an ongoing emotional struggle with the allegations.
“I cannot forget the way he made me cry many nights when I drove in his cars on the way home. I’m not able to take enough showers to wipe the smell of him off my body,” Parris said.
Parris’ attorney declined comment. A spokesman for Long referred calls to an attorney, who was not immediately available Tuesday night.
Long, a so-called prosperity preacher, has spoken out loudly against homosexuality.
Speaking to Fox, Parris said Long is not being truthful to his followers.
“That man cannot look me in my eye and tell me we did not live this pain,” he said. Addressing a comment to Long, he said, “you are not a man you are a monster.”
Also Tuesday, a county prosecutor said Long asked for charges to be dropped against Maurice Robinson in August, about two months after authorities say he and Anthony Boyd broke into the megachurch.
The district attorney’s office declined Long’s request to drop the charges and is still investigating the case.
Information from: WAGA-TV, www.wagatv.com/index.shtml
Tags: Atlanta, Eddie long, Georgia, North America, Religious Issues, Tv News, United States