Jamal Parris, one of Bishop Eddie Long's accusers, offered perhaps the most chilling characterization of the man at the center of this church sex scandal.
"That man cannot look me in my eye and tell me we did not live this pain," Parris said. "Why you can sit in front of the church and tell them that you categorically deny it. You can't say that to our face. And you know this. You are not a man, you are a monster."
Parris spoke to a local Atlanta TV reporter about how he and other alleged victims became entangled in a web or seduction, loyalty and deceit. "I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head," said Parris. "I cannot forget the smell of his cologne. And I cannot forget the way that he made me cry many nights when I drove in his car on the way home, not able to take enough showers to wipe the smell of him off of my body."
Parris contends Long was a father figure who he looked up to. But he says he later realized that the man he called "Daddy" had less than fatherly intentions. "You finally have a father that you've always wanted for and always dreamed of," Parris said. "He would just walk away from you if you don't give him what he wants. So you end up turning into something you never thought you would be, which is now a slave to a man that you love."
This damaging portrayal is hardly the impression Long and his supporters want to prevail. Long's attorneys deny Parris' claims and accuse the alleged victims and their counsel of trying the case in the media. Despite the compelling nature of Parris' on-camera account, Bishop Long is standing firm with teams of unwavering supporters at his Lithonia, Georgia church and beyond. Speaking to his congregation Tuesday night, Long did not directly address the allegations or his accusers but called the situation "spiritual warfare," according to broadcast reports. Long addressed reporters Sunday, touting the church's long-standing track-record as a beacon of hope in the Black community. Long hopes the image that will endure is of him as a loving PASTOR, not the PREDATOR his accusers now describe.