The famed pastor of a Georgia megachurch said Sunday that he will fight allegations that he lured young men into sexual relationships, stressing that he'd be back to lead the church the next week.
Addressing a New Birth Missionary Baptist Church sanctuary packed with thousands, Bishop Eddie Long neither discussed specifics of the lawsuits filed against him nor flatly denied the accusations. But he drew thunderous applause when he addressed his flock publicly for the first time since the first lawsuits were filed several days ago.
"There have been allegations and attacks made on me. 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. That's not me. That is not me," he said as applause interrupted him.
Four young men have filed lawsuits in the past week — three who live in Georgia and one from Charlotte, N.C., who attended one of Long's satellite churches there. Two claim they were members of the church's LongFellows Youth Academy, a program that taught teens about sexual and financial discipline, when Long gave them gifts and took them on trips to seduce them.
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