Not so fast “good” brotha, you’re not off the hook by a “long” shot.
The first mediation session in the sexual misconduct lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has ended, a church lawyer said.
Barbara Marschalk, who represents the Lithonia-based church and its LongFellows Youth Academy mentoring program, said additional mediation sessions, in which all parties attempt to reach a settlement, could be held.
She declined to discuss details.
Thomas Arthur, a professor in Emory University’s School of Law, said it is not unusual to have more than one mediation session. “It depends how much is at stake,” he said.
The idea, he said, “is to keep going if they might actually reach an agreement.”
B.J. Bernstein, who represents the four men who have accused the popular pastor of coercing them into having sexual relations, declined to comment on the proceedings.
“I appreciate the interest and concern by the public for my clients, and just as in any case, court-ordered mediation is a process that occurs in private and shall remain so,” she said in an e-mail this week.
The four plaintiffs are Spencer LeGrande, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg and Jamal Parris. LongFellows Youth Academy is named in three of the suits.
Long has denied the accusations and has vowed to fight. The lawsuits were filed last year in DeKalb County. If no resolution is reached, they could go to trial later this year.
Recently New Birth laid off two full-time employees and cut salaries by 10 percent. Spokesman Art Franklin blamed the economy for the cuts.
When asked about the mediation, he said, “On advice of legal counsel we are unable to comment about the case.”
As bad as it will be if this case has to go to trial, it doesn’t say a lot about the Bishop’s supposed “innocence” if he has to settle this matter out of court. Get your popcorn, it should be a helluva show.