Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) — Allegations that a prominent Atlanta pastor coerced two young male church members and employees into sex are “a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues,” the pastor’s spokesman told CNN Wednesday.
Pastor Eddie Long “categorically and adamantly denies these allegations,” said spokesman Art Franklin. “There’s been a lot of chatter since yesterday, but these complaints that have been filed are definitely without merit.”
Lawsuits filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex. CNN was the first to report on the lawsuits.
“Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship,” the suits allege.