One of the four men who accused Georgia megachurch pastor Eddie Long of sexual misconduct was convicted of a drug charge Tuesday.
Jamal Parris, 24, pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intention to distribute. Judge Bronwyn Miller in a Miami courtroom Tuesday morning ordered him to serve one year of probation and perform 75 hours of community service, according to Atlanta’s WSBTV Channel 2.
Although Parris admitted to legal wrongdoing, he also defended himself by blaming Bishop Eddie Long for being the cause of his drug charge.
“You caught me with bud? Look at the sign of sexual abuse victims. What’s the very first sign on any website you’ll see? Alcoholism, drug abuse,” Parris told Channel 2.
“Judge me again, and then judge me again, and then judge me again. And still ask me could you do half the stuff we walked through?” Parris said.
The young man said he was still dealing with “the same demons and nightmares” and was struggling to overcome the pain from his abuse by Long.
In late June, a Florida Highway patrol officer had stopped Parris who was driving a white 2011 BMW in Miami Beach for having no tags. Sgt. Seth Dubinsky found 181 grams of marijuana, worth about $1,000, and a semiautomatic handgun in the car, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Parris was also carrying $1,250 in cash.
Parris was arrested and charged with two felonies for possession of marijuana with intention to distribute and carrying a firearm while committing a felony. The firearm charge was later dropped.
Dubinsky had told AJC after the arrest, “He (Parris) kept telling me he bought that BMW with the settlement money.”
The patrol officer also said, “He said, ‘you guys are getting the wrong impression of me.”
Parris told Channel 2 in an interview this week that he carried the gun to protect himself after rumors spread that he received millions of dollars from the settlement with Bishop Eddie Long.
Parris and three other young men accused Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in the Atlanta area of abusing his position as a “spiritual father” to coerce them into sexual relationships. The four men were former members of New Birth church.
The lawsuit, filed last fall, was settled out-of-court in May. With mediation done behind closed doors and under a confidentiality agreement, not much details about the alleged misconduct and the settlement has been known.