Ga. pastor's academy had 'sex self-check card'
ATLANTA – The pastor accused of using a program to groom young men for sexual relationships billed the boys academy as a "rite of passage," teaching students about interest rates, Social Security and sexual control, even making them carry a card that listed three things they could be doing rather than having sex.
Pastor Eddie Long, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, is now being sued by two young men who attended the LongFellows Youth Academy and claim they were lured into trysts with cars, jewelry and cash.
Two other men have made similar accusations — including one who filed a lawsuit Friday. That lawsuit, provided to The Associated Press, said Long coerced him into a sexual relationship during a trip to Kenya, at one point telling the young man "I will be your dad."
Long and his attorney have denied all the accusations, with Long remaining largely silent. On Sunday, he will speak publicly to his congregation at church for the first time since the lawsuits were filed.
The men, who were 17 and 18 at the time, say Long recruited them for the academy after they joined New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
"It became a place where the bishop could learn the intimate details about these young men," said attorney B.J. Bernstein, who filed the civil lawsuits against Long.
The academy trains about 100 students during a four-month session for $500 a person. Long and his board of advisers, which includes NFL star Ray Lewis, created a daunting regimen.
Long, himself a stocky and muscular man, demands the students run 2 miles in less than 15 minutes and bench press and squat their weight. They even have to write a report on the documentary "Super Size Me," which chronicles a man who eats only fast food during every meal for a month.
Long — whose church's finances have been investigated by Congress — wants the students to keep a sharp fiscal mind, too. They have to calculate interest rates on investments and work a job for at least three months.
Long also focuses on relationships, with students making a vow of sexual purity. The young men carry a "SEX Self-Check Card" in their wallets listing their vision for life, a favorite>