4 Jan 2011

Baptist youth pastors suspected Bishop Eddie Long was sexually abusing boys but were intimidated to stay silent

WSBTV - Atlanta October 14, 2010

Author Says He Knew Of Bishop Long Sex Abuse Claims In '07

ATLANTA -- An author who published a 2007 book accusing Bishop Eddie Long of having homosexual relationships has called for the bishop to step down from the pulpit.

"He is leading God's people to the pits of hell. He needs to confess, repent and let God deal with him," said "Snakes in the Pulpit" author Reuben Armstrong.

Armstrong is a radio show host based in Dallas, but said he traveled to Atlanta while researching his book after two New Birth Missionary Baptist Church youth pastors contacted him. He said what they told him back in 2006 sounds a lot like what's alleged in four lawsuits filed against Long in September.

“They were noticing that Bishop Long was taking young boys into the church involved youth ministry and taking them on vacation and hanging out with them and practicing homosexual acts with these young boys," Armstrong told Channel 2’s Jodie Fleischer.

Long is fighting four lawsuits in which former male members of his church accuse him of abusing his power to coerce them into sexual acts.

Armstrong's book's second chapter "Homosexual Pastor," accuses Long of having sexual relationships, but Armstrong said he didn't include the part about the victims being teenagers because he couldn't confirm it. He said the pastors were afraid to come forward publicly.

"They were scared for the retaliation and the aftermath they would receive from the church and the bishop," Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the recent lawsuits and Long’s public statements confirm the accusations. He said if they weren’t true, Long would’ve explicitly denied them.

"All you can say is that I'm not perfect? I think, bishop, we know you're not perfect. No one's perfect," Armstrong said.

Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, said the bishop has nothing to say to Armstrong.

"We are not responding to those inflammatory comments," Franklin told Fleischer.

Armstrong is teaming up with a South Carolina bishop to host an interdenominational rally calling for Long's resignation at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31. Georgia's Building Authority has already authorized the event.

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