Monday, February 28, 2011

Eddie Long…..Did He or Didn’t He?

By: Gaétane Borders 

Not much has been reported recently about a news report that shocked the nation....the Pastor Eddie Long sexual abuse accusations. If you followed this case you heard Long circumvented and dismissed the accusations of 4 young male adults who filed a law suit stating that he used the Bible to rationalize sexual encounters with them.  Accusations also say that he used money, extravagant vacations, and gifts to influence his victims. 

This made international news because it had all the bells and whistles that the media loves so, money, and fame. In fact, it was all the news reported for two weeks. Then we heard nothing. I thought that perhaps the pastor went into hiding, or that his lawyers told him not to appear publicly until the trial began. I was wrong. Long continues to serve a pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA, and continues to speak to 25,000 church goers each week.

Today the news is reporting that the accusers are expected to settle the claims in mediation. "The main reason people go to mediation is to maintain control over the outcome and to find a resolution that meets everybody's needs as well as possible," said Andrea Doneff, an associate professor at the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta. If the parties agree, the resolution remains confidential.

I have to admit that when I first heard that mediation was in the works I immediately assumed that it was Long who wanted to avoid a lengthy and possibly humiliating public trial. But, now it appears that it is the plaintiffs who may be pushing for this. Perhaps this their way of exercising control over a traumatic situation (allegedly). People have been very outspoken, and these young men have been judged since the first moment that they stated their accusations. I can't imagine that they would want to continue enduring countless months of this. It seems as though the public will not get to learn the facts, or have the opportunity to hear Eddie long respond to cross examination. So we are forced to continue asking ourselves "Did he or didn't he?"

Regardless of what you believe, I think that the one of many lessons learned through this is that people want to believe in an ideal....that a religious figure could not, would not, knows better than to harm children. The other lesson is that sometimes people are hateful towards those who report that they were molested. The third lesson and final lesson is perhaps that the legal system is not truly designed to help the abused. If Eddie Long is guilty, it should be made public because I believe that every parent who worships at his church, lives in his community, or whose children may come into contact with him has the right to know! And, If he is not guilty and the young men are lying, this should be known as well. That would be justice served.

Gaetane Borders is the President of Peas In Their Pods.

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