Surely you’ve heard all about the sexual misconduct accusations made by four men against Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta...
Surely you’ve heard all about the sexual misconduct accusations made by four men against Bishop Eddie Long, Pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. And I know you’ve heard about the hush-hush settlement he made with the men in May. An undisclosed amount of money was paid (rumored to be around $20 million). Bishop Long denied the allegations in court papers, and later issued a statement saying it was time to move forward.
But did you know there was fifth accuser?
FOX 5 Atlanta (or “Lipton," as my girl calls them. Why? “Cause, honey, they be spilling the tea!) tracked down the fifth man, Centino Kemp, 22. He never filed a lawsuit and his name was kept secret, but his allegations of sexual misconduct against Bishop Long “brought him front and center into the recent settlement negotiations,” according to a FOX 5 special investigation.
It took FOX two months to track Kemp down, and they did with cameras rolling, in the parking lot of a local recording studio, where Kemp was booking $100 per hour sessions. How to describe Kemp? One lawyer familiar with the case said Kemp was "different from the other young men," and "one piece of the puzzle that never fit."
When cameras caught up with him, he was in full eye make-up, with arched brows and a chic mahogany haircut, reminiscent of Rihanna in her “Rated R” days. Kemp also had a tattoo of Long’s full name in cursive on his inner wrist. Underneath, it read: “Never a Mistake, Always a Lesson.” (That sounds familiar, Rihanna’s tat post-Breezy break up tat read: “Never a Failure, Always a Lesson.”)
Allegedly, Kemp met Long years ago when Kemp visited New Birth while he was a teenage student at a Florida college. When FOX asked about his relationship with Long, Kemp had no comment, and escaped into a vintage limo to avoid further questions. When Long was contacted by FOX, he had no comment.
In other Eddie Long news, Jamal Parris, 24, another of the men who settled the suit against Long, was arrested on multiple charges last month in Florida. You may remember him as the accuser who spoke candidly on camera of allegations against Long when he was ambushed by reporters.
Parris was reportedly driving a white 2011 BMW 328i (price tag: $41K) in Miami Beach (with no tags) when he was pulled over. Police smelled marijuana when they approached the car and a search of the vehicle revealed 181 grams of weed (street value, approximately $1,000), 50 clear plastic baggies, a Taurus semiautomatic handgun and $1,250 in cash. He was charged with two felony counts: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. He was also hit with operating a motor vehicle with no registration.
The Eddie Long case was settled nearly three months ago, but clearly, the drama continues. Do you think this is the end of it? Or is there more to come?
Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. She has recently been nominated for an African American Literary Award. Vote for her now on literaryawardshow.com.