Bishop Eddie Long Reaches Settlement Out of Court

Atlanta megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long has reached a settlement out of court with the four young men who accused him of sexual misconduct, lawyers for both sides of the case said Thursday. Eddie Long was accused last year of coercing four men he mentored into sexual relationships.

Both sides of the case would not comment on the details of the settlement but said the lawsuit would not move forward to trial.

B.J. Bernstein, who represented the plaintiffs, confirmed Thursday that the lawsuit has "been resolved."

Long's lawyer, Barbara Marschalk, also confirmed the suits were settled and said they would likely be dismissed by the end of business Friday.

The settlement in the Eddie Long case comes three months after attorneys in the lawsuit between the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church pastor and his four accusers began mediation.

Art Franklin, spokesman for Long, said in a statement that both sides of the suit decided to resolve the civil cases "after a series of discussions."

"This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry," said Franklin.

"As is usually the case when civil lawsuits resolve out of court, we cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential."

Long's spokesman called the resolution "the most reasonable road for everyone to travel.”

Jamal Parris and three other young men alleged in their lawsuits filed last year that Long lured them into sexual relationships by using his position and lavishing them with gifts.

The Lithonia, Ga., pastor had officially denied the allegations stating in response to the suit: "The Plantiff's claims to sexual misconduct are not true."

Long had admitted to mentoring the men and sharing rooms with them while on trips, but denied any sexual activity took place.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Long Fellows were also named as defendants in the suit.

In September, when the accusations went public, Long stood before his 25,000-strong congregation and promised to fight against the charges.

"This thing I'm gonna fight," he told his congregation on Sept. 26.

“I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man. But I am not the man that’s being portrayed on the television."

In a news conference following the Sunday service, Long said he wanted the matter to be resolved in court.

"I want this to be dealt in the court of justice and not by public opinion. I will say that I am going to fight, fight very vigorously against these charges."

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