ATLANTA -- Paragraph by paragraph, the defense team of Bishop Eddie Long fired back at his accusers with four lengthy written responses in court Monday afternoon.
Long heads the New Birth Missionary Baptist megachurch congregation in east suburban Lithonia.
In papers filed in state court, Long answers point by point and paragraph by paragraph, each assertion by the four plaintiffs in the lawsuits drawn against him.
At the top of each response from long, in bold letters, it says, "The Plaintiff's claims of sexual misconduct are not true."
"Bishop Long admits that he mentors many young men from challenged backgrounds who have been without a male role model in their lives," one of the documents says. "The mentor-mentee relationship is grounded on expressed promises of honesty and truthfulness."
Long says that he provides help to many in the congregation, and that he does consider the members of the mentoring program to be his "spiritual sons."
In his own words, Long says the entire New Birth membership calls him "Daddy," and that members of other churches often call him, "Granddaddy."
He also details that he "often uses Biblical verses that reinforce the spiritual and God-like connection" between himself and members of the congregation.
In at least one of the documents filed with the court, Long says he often shares his room with members of the congregation while on trips.
"Members of both congregations were in and out of the suite on a regular basis," the document said, but Long says he does not recall specifically calling the plaintiffs to his suite.
"It is common among the church congregation for members to hug each other and to hug the Bishop, but there is no recollection of any prolonged hugs with the plaintiffs," according to the documents.
The plaintiff's stories are strikingly similar -- they say Long took them in as so-called spiritual sons when they were young teens, buying them cars, giving them places to stay and taking them on lavish trips, some of which were out of the country. They say Long insisted they stay in the same room with him, and in the same bed.
All of the plaintiffs say once they were wer past the age of legal consent, Long used his position of power to coerce them into sexual acts.
Long repeatedly denies the allegations.