ATLANTA -- A statement was issued Tuesday morning regarding circulating rumors that said that the wife of Bishop Eddie Long had left him in the wake of the out of court settlement with four young men who accused him of coercing them into sexual relationships.
The statement, from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church spokesman Art Franklin, denied the claims and characterized the claims as hateful and damaging.
The statement read as follows:
"Despite a very public attack against New Birth Church and its leadership, New Birth has chosen not to respond to rumors but remain focused on fulfilling the mission that God has for the ministry.
However, in this new digital world, along with a steep decline in quality reporting, many people can't discern the difference between legitimate journalists and irresponsible bloggers. Recently, some blog entries have surfaced claiming to have anonymous sources stating that New Birth First Lady Elder Vanessa Long has left her husband. That claim is completely and absolutely false. Mrs. Long is very much a loving, dedicated and committed wife and mother.
It is unfortunate that anyone would make such hateful and damaging false claims of this nature. These cruel and insensitive rumors have the potential to cause immeasurable pain and suffering. Those involved should feel obligated to retract their earlier statements."
Attorneys reached an out-of-court settlement in the accusations, and the fiscal terms have not been disclosed.