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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, May 27, 2011
Bishop Long settles; clergy sex abuse victims respond
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
This is typical predator behavior – bluffing and blustering initially about “fighting this,” then taking the easy, cowardly way out and settling. In many ways, we wish there had been a trial because we strongly suspect evidence would have shown Long’s obvious guilt. A trial might have also exposed other church staff and members who knew of or suspected Long’s crimes but ignored or concealed them. If so, those individuals should be disciplined.
Long may claim to be contrite or “falsely accused,” settling allegedly “for the good of the church” and to “spare his accusers” the difficulty of a trial. But we’re very skeptical of his sincerity.
Atlanta’s citizens owe a debt of gratitude to these brave young men who took huge risks in exposing such a prominent serial predator. We appreciate and applaud their courage, and hope this settlement brings them much-deserved healing and closure. At the same time, however, we know that no amount of money can replace what Long stole from them – their innocence and trust. We urge each of them to get into or stay in therapy, support groups, and other programs that will help them piece their lives together after the horrific trauma they endured at the hands of a dangerous clergyman.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 05/27/2011
Bishop Eddie Long settles sexual misconduct suit out of court
By Elizabeth Tenety
Bishop Eddie Long. (John Amis - AP)
In a statement posted on the Web site of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, church officials said, “This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.”
“This resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel,” the statement said.
BJ Bernstein, attorney for the plaintiffs, was similarly tight-lipped. “The matter has been resolved,” read a statement. “Neither attorney Bernstein nor the plaintiffs themselves will be available for interview on this matter, now or in the future.”
Back in September, the Associated Press reported on allegations that the pastor “abused his spiritual authority to seduce [teenage boys] with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities.” Later details reported in the Christian Post said that the married father of four “admitted to mentoring the men and sharing rooms with them while on trips, but denied any sexual activity took place.”
After news of a lawsuit against him became public, Long addressed the claims in a sermon, saying, “I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man.” But, he added to cheers from his congregation, “I am not the man that’s being portrayed on the television. . . This thing, I’m gonna fight.”
Beyond his sizeable and influential church ministry, Long is well known for his anti-homosexuality messages and activism against same-sex marriage, a perceived hypocrisy that only inflamed his critics.
With the case settled out of court and representatives from both sides claiming that no further details will be released, it is possible that the public will never know the truth behind the allegations against Long. This tension between transparency and privacy in allegations of sexual misconduct against clergy members is not unique to Long and his ministry. In recent years, many religious organizations have struggled with the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in the face of allegations of sexual impropriety. For a few examples, see the cases of Fr. John Corapi,. Ted Haggard, and the Vienna Presbyterian Church.
By Elizabeth Tenety | 01:00 PM ET, 05/27/2011
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests