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Bound & Gagged

Allegations of sexual misconduct with young male parishioners by Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth church in Atlanta was a media field day last fall. One by one, young men came forth with charging that Long had seduced them with gifts, trips and mostly “fatherly attention”, then taking advantage of their loyalty, pressured them in to sexual (im)positions. Long passionately denied their claims but then quietly settled with 5 young men, paying them cash and imposing a gag order which bound them to never speak about the accusations again.

Well apparently the money was not enough to hush their hurt and shame. A couple of the young men have come forward once again saying that the trauma they’ve suffered can not and will not simply be placated with cash. Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande sat down with WSB TV and broke it down, knowing that they might be in violation of the settlement gag order, but claiming that their story needs to be heard, to help others and to help them move on.

The two are penning what’s being described as a detailed tell-all, with what LeGrande describes “ten years of details, each person, it’s gonna be a book full of ‘wow’s’ and ‘ahh’s’ and ‘Oh my God’s.'”

You can bet Hollywood is already calling. There hasn’t been this much buzz on the tube since Dudley got hemmed up in that bike shop on Diff’rent Strokes. I’m sure everyone’s ready to make a movie on this one, from Lifetime to Tyler Perry. Can’t you just see it?


The harrowing tale of a sassy old grandmother’s wayward grandson who, through the mentorship of his neighborhood pastor, turns his life around only to get turned around (and bent over) by his mentor, pastor and father figure. In the end, Madea, armed with a rolling pin and a bible, must go rescue her grandson and put the smack down on pastor. 

All jokes aside, sexual abuse is a serious matter. Many from the beginning felt that the young men were simply after money from Long. No doubt those same people and others will still feel the same way due in part to the fact that these men accepted a settlement, but now seem to be driven by morality to speak out. Yet in speaking out, writing a book etc, they stand to make potentially more than their original settlement. I hope for all involved that justice is served. By justice I mean, that the truths in this tale serve to heal and empower victims of sexual abuse, not simply capitalize on it – or be made to be another media circus. In the end, the true victims of sexual abuse often suffer in silence, their stories, not newsworthy enough, never see the light of day. There are no settlements or book and movie deals, only the trauma of their experience.


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