Craig Gillen, the lawyer defending embattled Atlanta pastor Bishop Eddie Long, went on the offensive against his client's accusers for "attempting to try their lawsuits in the media," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He also blasted Atlanta injury attorney B.J. Bernstein, who is representing the alleged victims.
Bishop Eddie Long, an outspoken anti-gay activist, is the target of lawsuits by three former male members of his megachurch alleging sexual abuse.
One of his accusers, Jamal Parris, said he considers his former pastor "a monster" and told WAGA-TV reporters that "this man manipulated us from childhood." Craig Gillen, in a statement, said he believes the accusers and their attorney are not handling the case properly:
"There are rules on how civil litigation is to take place and how counsel should conduct themselves, we intend to follow those rules."
Without directly addressing the allegations, Bishop Eddie Long has vehemently maintained his stance that the claims are untrue, calling the incident "spiritual warfare." He said if people believe what they hear about the scandal on television and in newspapers, "I'd be scared to show up, I'd be scared to look at you."
While a church spokesman said the popular Linthonia pastor denies all claims, a group of 32 ministers recently prayed with him in a show of support for him.
In his interview with WAGA, Jamal Parris said he tried to reach out to the Eddie Long privately before filing his lawsuit but that he was turned away. His account of the pastor's alleged misdeeds certainly is chilling:
"I cannot forget the smell of his cologne. And I cannot forget the way that he made me cry many nights when I drove in his car on the way home, not able to take enough showers to wipe the smell of him off of my body."