|Screen shot of an alleged cell phone photo of Bishop Eddie Long, accused of sexually molesting male teens in his church: CBS Channel 2 Atlanta/AJC|
Bishop Eddie Long, in his first public statement since he was sued by three men who alleged he coerced them into having sexual relationships, said he has been "through storms and my faith has always sustained me."
" I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations and I will do so," he said in a statement released by his spokesman. " However, my lawyers have counseled patience at this time. But let me be clear; the charges against me and New Birth are false. I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply. "
He asked for patience and said he plans to respond to the charges during services at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday.
Earlier, his attorney, Craig Gillen, took to the air to defend his client against charges he used his pastoral influence to coerce three men into having sexual relations.
|Dwight Thomas and Craig Gillen, attorneys for Bishop Eddie Long: John Spink/ajc.com|
Gillen was interviewed by Roland Martin for the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. It was the first public interview by Long's attorneys since three lawsuits were filed against the head of the Atlanta mega-church.
"These false allegations are an attack on Bishop Long personally. They are an attack on New Birth and all of the 25,000 good people who attend that church, and it's an attack on the mentoring program that has helped thousands of young men," Gillen said.
Gillen also read Long's statement on the air.
"Let me be clear. The charges against me and New Birth are false," Long's statement said.
(Click here to read the full story on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website. Below is video from CBS News 2 in Atlanta, with the story of a third man coming forward with additional sexual molestation allegations against Bishop Eddie Long)