by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:ATLANTA, Ga.,None —
Channel 2 Action News has learned a law firm representing Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has sent a letter to three of Long's accusers, threatening to try and take back some of the settlement money paid in a high profile sex abuse case.
Multiple sources, who wanted to remain anonymous because of possible litigation, confirmed the letter was sent this week. It asks Jamal Parris, Spencer LeGrande, and Centino Kemp to repay a total of $900,000 for breaching a confidentiality provision that was part of the settlement. A total of five young men settled with Long, meaning, his team paid out at least $1.5 million for the case.
Parris and LeGrande sat down with Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer in August to discuss their accusations against Long. They did not disclose the total settlement amount, but they knew they were putting it in jeopardy.
"Money doesn't buy happiness. So you don't really care if you lose it," LeGrande told Fleischer.
Parris directed his comments directly to Long saying, "If you want it back, if you're that desperate, because your church membership ain't the way it needs to be, guess what, great for you."
But sources told Fleischer Long didn't pay any of the settlement personally, instead counting on the church and its insurance company.
Trial attorney Hayden Pace is not affiliated with this case, but has experience with high profile clients and confidential settlements.
"No one's going to turn over the money just simply because you've asked for it. You're going to have to earn it back by establishing your right to it in the courts," said Pace.
He saids insurance company payouts are not uncommon.
"If this arose because of [Long's] role within the church, it's possible there could have been an officer and director liability policy that was issued," said Pace.
The five accused Long of misusing his role as their spiritual father to build sexual relationships. The three who got the warning letters have all talked publicly of plans to write tell-all books about their experiences with the bishop.
"If the settlement agreement is still in place, they can be found guilty of it again and again if they continue making discussions about that. To the point that the church or the insurance company is highly likely to go off and get an injunction from the court," added Pace.
Pace said Long and the church could even go after a publisher for helping the young men write their books.
All three of the accusers declined Fleischer's requests for comment. A spokesman for Long did not return her call or email.
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