Lawyer: Sex Lawsuit Involving Bishop Long Resolved

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Lawsuits brought by four young men who accused an Atlanta megachurch pastor of sexual misconduct have been resolved, attorneys for both sides said Thursday.

Both sides say the civil suits in state court will not go forward against Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Four young men, now in their twenties, accused Long of abusing his spiritual authority and making improper sexual advances when they were 17. Long has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Federal and state authorities decided not to investigate the matter because Georgia's age of consent is 16.

Working in the Atlanta area for more than two decades, Long has seen his congregation of 150 grow into a megachurch with more than 25,000 members and an international televangelist empire that includes athletes, entertainers, and politicians.

The 58-year-old husband and father of four is an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.

The plaintiffs' attorney B.J. Bernstein said Thursday "we can confirm that the matter has been resolved" but would not elaborate.

Barbara Marschalk, an attorney for New Birth Missionary Baptist, confirmed the suits had been resolved and said they would likely be dismissed by Friday.

Church spokesman Art Franklin issued a statement late Thursday saying: "After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry."

"As is usually the case when civil lawsuits resolve out of court, we cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential," Frank said in the statement.

"This resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel," he said. 

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