*Bishop Eddie Long went before thousands of faithful supporters at his New Birth Missionary Baptist megachurch Sunday and promised to fight accusations that he lured four young men into sexual relationships.
“I feel like David against Goliath. But I got five rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet,” Long said in his first public remarks since his accusers filed lawsuits last week claiming he abused his “spiritual authority.”
He stopped short of denying the allegations but implied he was wronged by them.
Long addressed the media briefly during a press conference between services, but media access to the services themselves was tightly controlled.
Reporters were required to check in with church officials and were led to a separate part of the church to view the service. The media was also told not to interview church members inside the sanctuary or on church property.
After Long’s remarks during the 8 a.m. service, an Associated Press reporter was escorted out of the sanctuary by church officials who said the press were not allowed in the sanctuary during worship.
Watch this AP video for more:
Earlier we reported …
Bishop Long: ‘I’m Not a Perfect Man, but This I’m Gonna Fight’
*At 9:21 a.m. this morning, Bishop Long said the following to his congregation regarding allegations he coercied young males into sexual relationships:
I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man. But I am not the man that’s being portrayed on the television. That’s not me. That is not me.
By the counsel of my lawyers, they have advised me not to try this case in the media. It will be tried in the court of justice and dealt with in the court of justice. That’s the only place I think I’ll get justice.
I’ve been accused, I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man. But this thing, I’m gonna fight.
I feel like David against Goliath. But I’ve got five rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet.
And with that, Bishop Long ended his sermon for the 8 o’clock service, and CNN ended its live stream.
As previously reported, Long is expected to address the media with a statement regarding the allegations at 10 a.m. EST.