Approximately more than five years ago, four young men accused Bishop Eddie Long of sexual coercion. In 2011, the men spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the incidents, and essentially tarnished Long’s legacy. As the news broke out that Long lost his battle with cancer on Sunday (Jan. 15), there has been much speculation about what his accusers think of his death.
“We’ve been hearing from people from all walks of life — the media, celebrities, gospel singers — wanting to hear what we think,” said Spencer LeGrande, one of the four young men who accused Long. Yet despite the constant probing, LeGrande and fellow accuser, Jamal Parris are deciding to keep mum on the subject.
“As much as we’d like to make a statement about the passing of Bishop Eddie Long, we’ve all decided to remain silent, for now,” LeGrande said in a statement sent to the AJC.
They also mentioned that further details of their lives after they broke all ties with Long will be brought to light in their new book, “Foursaken.” LeGrande said they are still shopping for publishers. Since the allegations surfaced, Long consistently denied the reports. LeGrande was 15 when he first met Long at one of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s in Charlotte, NC. LeGrande, who did not have a father figure present in his life, eventually found comfort in Long.
“I got you … I will be your dad,” LeGrande said Long told him.
The narrative of absentee fathers is a trend among Long’s four accusers. Parris had an abusive relationship with his own father, and met the bishop when he was 14 in Atlanta, Ga. By the time the boys were 17, the sexual advances had started. According to them, Long lavished them with their own apartments, cars and expensive luxurious trips around the world.
The relationship affected each young man. Parris said he even thought about suicide. “I’d love to take pills and never wake up,” he told AJC in 2011. Yet amid all the controversy Long himself also had suicidal urges.
“I had a moment…I had a moment…I wanted to kill myself and was ready,” he reportedly told his New Birth congregation, remembering a time where he felt, “condemned from the four corners of the Earth.”
“My family loved me,” he continued. “My church loved me…Regardless of what anybody said, love lifted me and carried me. And you didn’t judge me.”
Ultimately, it’s up to LeGrande and Parris to unleash their sentiments. Nonetheless, only Long and the young men know what really happened.