From The Grio — February was an active month for Bishop Eddie Long. Not only did he enter into mediation with the four men —Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris, Anthony Flagg and Spencer LeGrande — who accused him of sexual misconduct when they were consenting young adults, he announced three Monday prayer sessions for a “men-only” prayer group via YouTube that kicked off February 28. All of this occurred just before the recent announcement, asreported by WAGA-FOX 5 Atlanta, that New Birth was cutting staff pay and shortening the workweek.
On January 31, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported on a YouTube plea from Long demanding settlement for his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church parishioners who invested with the firm City Capital Corporation in 2010 after the then-CEO Ephren Taylor was given a platform to address interested members. As of today, that video has been removed.
Just when the beleaguered pastor had employed a strategy of silence that appeared to work for him, he appears to be returning to his old, boastful self. With all the communication tools available to him and his staff, why YouTube? Who would advise him to once again don his expensively tailored clothing and speak outside of the congregation not even a good six months since the accusations were made? Is Long that in need of attention? Given all of his woes, would it not be wiser to just wait it out? In January, when the local ABC news affiliate, WSBChannel 2, caught him at a Trumpet Awards event for an interview, Long appeared humbled and even donned an outfit that was considerably more subdued. On the YouTube videos, he’s returned to his old school, pimpalicious attire.
Already information about the private mediation proceedings have leaked. Apparently, Long has not responded with any admission of guilt although each of the young men have described his wrongdoing in emotional and graphic detail. According to Andrea Doneff, an associate professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School whom the AJC quoted in its February 11, 2011 story on the mediation, Long’s unresponsiveness is not uncommon. “When she practiced law,” according to the AJC, “she often advised her clients not to expect an admission of guilt.”
Doneff told the AJC that “the main reason people go to mediation is to maintain control over the outcome and to find a resolution that meets everybody’s needs as well as possible.” That’s a far cry from the fight Long promised when he addressed his congregation amid national media cameras in late September. But instead of letting the private mediation pass quietly, Long brings additional attention to himself by starring in YouTube videos. It doesn’t make logistical or strategic sense.
Clearly Long has seen better times. The Dale Russell FOX 5 report regarding the cut staff and rolled back pay disclosed that New Birth brought in $19 million in offerings and tithes last year of which Long received over $1 million. That amount is not so unreasonable based on the overall pot but, as the FOX 5 report pointed out, there was no comment about what Long’s compensation would be in light of the recent staff cutbacks at New Birth. Even trickier will be the question of from which pot will the young men accusing Long of sexual misconduct be settled.