Bishop Eddie Long's wife filed for divorce, six months after the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church settled lawsuits with four young men who accused him of sexual coercion. Hours later, she has announced that she has changed her mind.
"Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw my petition for divorce from my husband, Bishop Eddie L. Long. I love my husband. I believe in him and admire his strength, and courage. My filing followed years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me. I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Therefore, my husband and I have mutually agreed to find healing from these attacks. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time."
Friday morning, Mrs. Long had released a statement saying she authorized her attorneys to go ahead with the filing Thursday, December 1.
"It is my sincere hope that this matter can be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously, and fairly," she said in the statement. "I ask that you respect my privacy and that of my family, as my attorneys and I have agreed that we will not try this case in the media, and I do not intend to make any further statements concerning this matter. I also ask that the public pray for my entire family during this difficult period of transition."
Long, an outspoken advocate of gay marriage, was accused by several young men of using money, gifts, trips and spiritual authority to begin sexual relationships with them when they were in their late teens. He adamantly denied the relationships, but settled the cases out of court last May. New Birth is a megachurch which boasts of some 25,000 members.
In October, the beleaguered minister was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by church member who claim he helped convince them to invest in a firm owned by Ephren Taylor, whom Long allegedly said would guarantee them a return on their money; however, the suit contends, Taylor was not licensed in Georgia, and Long should have known that. The congregants lost some $1 million.
The month before that, Long settled a $2 million lawsuit that claimed that he and a business partner defaulted on a loan for the Omni Hoops and Fitness gym in Jonesboro after the bank they had used failed.