Is Eddie Long’s Youth Academy Just A Place Where ‘Dad’ Groomed His Boys?

So what sort of fun things is anti-gay Eddie Long’s fourth accuser Spencer LeGrande, now 22, saying the Atlanta pastor did to him? Let’s take a look!

The fourth lawsuit alleging Long sexually coerced a teenager (LeGrande says he was 17 at the time) claims the mega-churcher took his victim on a trip to Kenya where:

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.

There were the trips to South Africa, to meet Winnie Mandela, and Zimbabwe, and that Kenya excursion in 2006, after LeGrande graduated high school, where “intimate sexual contact” took place during each of the jaunts, ACCORDING TO THE LAWSUIT. And just like Long’s previous accusers, the pastor allegedly showered LeGrande with cash and gifts, including paid tuition to Beulah Heights University in Atlanta — a trick to bring LeGrande closer to Long’s haunt. From there, the lawsuit claims, their sexual relationship continued through 2009, with stops in Long’s private church offices before LeGrande called it off.

So just how did Long allegedly manage to convince these young people — AND THEIR PARENTS! WE’VE GOT TO GET TO THAT! — to come on international overnight visits?

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. According to Friday’s court filing, LeGrande and his family in March 2003 joined New Birth-Charlotte in North Carolina, a satellite location of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. LeGrande approached Long after a 2005 sermon at a “Men of War Conference” at the Charlotte location.

LeGrande was moved by Long’s message of forgiving fathers who had been absent because his father had not been active in his life, the lawsuit states. Long told the plaintiff, “I got you. I will be your dad.”

As you can totally tell, Long was just looking out for these young men’s best interests. Enrolled at Long’s LongFellows Youth Academy, which charged $500 for a four-month session, the young men learned about Social Security and taxes — and sexual self control. They each carried a “SEX Self-Check Card,” which listed “3 things you could be doing instead of having sex.” Evidently, one of those things appears to involve “having sex with the pastor.”

If the allegations are true, it’ll show that one of the ways Long managed to exploit these boys was by acting as their father figure. (See above “I will be your dad” line.) But at some point, another storyline will seed itself: Why were these boys’ mothers letting their teenage sons go on international sleepovers with this man? The response will be: they trusted Long. After all, who can’t trust their pastor? That used to be a question we didn’t need to ask. Now it’s a question every parent would be stupid not to. And while nobody, whether a child or teenager or adult, deserves to be sexually coerced into a relationship built on an imbalance of power, there’s a part of this story that’s clearly missing — the normal checks and balances that keep minors safe from sexual predators.

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