Televangelist Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, has refused to answer whether the 2010 accusations against him that he had sex with four teenagers are true.
Long was directly asked a yes or no question by talk show host Steve Harvey on WAGA Fox 5 in Atlanta about the allegations, to which he replied: "I'm bound by court. I can't make any statement about that."
Long was accused back in 2010 by four young men that he forced them to have sexual relations with him while they were teenagers. The case was reportedly settled in 2011, but due to the nature of the agreement, the pastor is unable to speak about the details.
The young men in question, Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson, all accused Long of taking them on long trips to New York, New Zealand and South Africa, where he allegedly bribed them with gifts, such as cars, clothes, jewelry and electronic items. The pastor, who has four children, denied the accusations of sexual relations at the time.
Since the teenagers were all between 17 and 18, above the age of consent in Georgia, which is 16 years old, Long did not face criminal charges.
As for why Long decided to settle the case, the pastor explained his reasoning: "Am I going to win the battle or do I need to win the war?
I had to make the decision to save me, save my family and save the church," he added.
Back in February, Long admitted to his congregation that he had thought about taking his own life, but was saved by love.
"When I was being condemned from the four corners of the Earth I had a moment where I wanted to kill myself and I was ready. What kept me was not a scripture, what kept me was that every time I showed up here, you were here," the pastor said.
In his interview with Harvey, Long admitted that the suicidal thoughts were the darkest hour of his life.
"You hear so much from so many. And I guess the shouts, when you're going through. ... The shouts of your haters seem to be louder and more multiplied than people who are with you," the televangelist said.
"And somehow, because we have a bend toward the negative anyway, they get to your ear," he added.
Long's wife, Vanessa, initially filed for divorce in 2011, but has since withdrawn her petition, and the couple remain married.
The New Birth Missionary pastor revealed that "challenges" remain in their marriage, but they continue growing together.
"If it wasn't for her I would have been gone," he said.