ATLANTA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A prominent Baptist bishop in the Atlanta area used his stature to pressure young men into having sex, two lawsuits filed late Tuesday allege.
The suits were filed in DeKalb County by two former congregation members against Bishop Eddie Long of the 10,000-seat New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, WGA-TV, Atlanta, reported.
"Long utilized his spiritual authority to coerce certain young male members and employees of defendant New Birth into engaging in sexual acts and relationships," Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg, both in their early 20s, allege in their lawsuits.
The TV station said the suits claim other members of the megachurch probably didn't know what was going on but that church money was used to foster the relationships.
In his suit, Robinson claims Long used "monetary funds from the accounts of defendant New Birth to entice the [young men] with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics."
Robinson says the bishop would use "the Holy Scripture to discuss and justify the intimate relationship."
WAGA said Long had not responded after a copy of the lawsuits were faxed to him.