Ga. Church Says Pastor Didn't Engage in Sexual Conduct

DECATUR, Ga. -- The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta has acknowledged that Bishop Eddie Long accompanied four young men on trips. But the church says it did not believe Long engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with them.

The Lithonia megachurch filed papers Monday in DeKalb County State Court responding to lawsuits alleging that Long coerced the four young men into sexual relationships. The four men accused Long of using his influence, lavish trips, gifts and jobs to coerce them.

The church acknowledged that the men accompanied Long on trips, in some cases overseas. It did not confirm or deny a series of specific allegations against Long.

However, the church said that it does not believe that Long or any of its agents or employees had inappropriate sexual contact with the plaintiffs.