ATLANTA (LALATE) – Bishop Eddie Long’s wife Vanessa Griffin Long had nothing to say about her husband’s scandal during Sunday’s service. Bishop Eddie Long’s wife Vanessa stood by her husband and the father of her four children during Sunday’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church service. There have been a series of services today. The first was open the media, followed by a press conference, followed by another closed to the media. Many of the statements are still be captured by local news. But one person who is not speaking, neither before the congregation nor in news statements, is Eddie Long’s wife.
Bishop Eddie Long offered a news conference with wife Vanessa at 10 AM Sunday in which Long didn’t say anything of substance again. Long vowed again he would fight allegations but said he would not address them in the “court of public opinion”. Long has chosen to be evasive about allegations with the news media, using reps to attack plaintiffs but not to respond to some directed questions including allegations of sharing a bed with teens. Long today made it clear today that he will continue to lead his congregation at New Birth and will deal with the scandal in the “court of justice not the court of public opinion. I am going to fight. Fight very vigorously. Things New Birth has stood for … we will continue to do.”
Long is accused by four men of similar alleged acts that they claim started as teenagers and continued until collegiate years. Long with Vanessa have four children of their own: Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor. The lawsuits claim that Eddie Long would search out male teen members from his congregation that were without father figures, befriend them, give them cars. Long is accused of using money, free trips, and free housing, all in an alleged act of coercion to get them into bed. The suits goes on to claim that once Long got what he allegedly wanted, he tried to control the boys’ relationships with others, distancing them further from their often absent fathers, telling them not to have girlfriends, and instructing them to give up basketball collegiate careers.
And while Long’s appearance today was much a media spectacle, Long said that he would be back next Sunday and every Sunday thereafter. “We’re here today and every Sunday morning. And I’ll be here next week.”
Long’s wife has not spoken since the scandal erupted. New Birth now has a 25,000 member congregation, a $50 million cathedral. But Long is accused of using church funds for his own alleged wrongdoings. The 2006 funeral Coretta Scott King, Rev Martin Luther King Jr’s widow, was held at New Birth. And while Long has been hit with four lawsuits in five days, three are from local Georgia men, while another asserts allegations by Long from his church in Charlotte North Carolina.
Previously, plaintiff Jamal Parris claimed “Defendant Long’s Spiritual Songs are taken on public and private jets to U.S. and international destinations house in luxury hotels and given access to numerous celebrities including entertainment stars and politicians.” But there was an alleged purpose said Parris. In the end, Long’s alleged coercion culminated in “engaging in [intimate relations] and relationships for his own personal … gratification” says Parris.
And while Long spoke from the Scriptures today, Long is accused of using the Bible in acts of coercion. Plaintiff Robinson, like the other three plaintiffs, claims the Bishop was “representing that … relations with Defendant Long were justified by the Holy Scripture and ordained by God.”