(CNN) — A fourth lawsuit has been filed against Atlanta-area pastor Eddie Long, alleging he coerced a 17-year-old into a sexual relationship during a 2005 trip the two took to Africa.
The suit — filed, like the others, in DeKalb County, Georgia, State Court — claims Long invited Spencer LeGrande, now 22, on a trip to Kenya.
On the first night in Nairobi, Long asked LeGrande to come to his room, where the youth told the pastor he was having difficulty going to sleep, the suit states. Long provided Ambien, a sleep aid, and they both took the drug, according to the suit.
Long then gave LeGrande a hug, kissed and licked the youth’s lips and rubbed the teen’s chest, according to the lawsuit. They slept in bed together that evening and during the rest of the Kenya trip, the lawsuit states, adding they went on shopping sprees.
In a statement released by his spokesman, Long denied the allegations.
“Our position about the lawsuits has not changed. Bishop Long categorically denies the charges,” said spokesman Art Franklin. “We believe that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action. The defense team will review the complaints and respond accordingly at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum.”
Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, also is a defendant in the civil action filed Friday.
The men who brought lawsuits this week claim Long took them on overnight trips to various locations within the United States and beyond, sharing a room and engaging in sexual contact with them, including massaging, masturbation or oral sex.
Friday’s action, which does not ask for a specific amount of damages, claims Long manipulated, coerced and deceived LeGrande by convincing him that a sexual relationship was “a healthy component of his spiritual life.” It says Long uses church money and other accounts to entice young men with cars, clothing, jewelry and electronics.
(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
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This post was last updated: Sep. 26, 2010