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Bishop Eddie Long’s ex-wife claimed in divorce papers that he was physically abusive, alleging he beat her when she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with the couple’s only child.

Dabara S. Houston said she was the victim of “cruel treatment” and was afraid of Long’s “violent and vicious temper,” according to Fulton County Superior Court records. She and her son “had to flee [the couple’s Fairburn home] in order to ensure their safety,” the documents say.

The couple was married in 1981 and separated after a couple years, according to the documents. Long’s first wife made the abuse allegation in a counterclaim after he petitioned for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

In a statement to the AJC, Long’s attorney Craig Gillen said, “The allegations of a divorce pleading that is nearly 30 years old are absolutely ‘not true.’  It’s offensive and disappointing that the media would drag up these outrageous allegations and make them a part of their reporting.”

Four young men have accused Long, the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, of sexual coercion. He has denied the men’s allegations through a spokesman and has told his congregation he plans to “vigorously” fight the charges.

Houston, now living in Statesville, North Carolina, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Her brother, Lonnie Houston, said she keeps to herself and could be anywhere — “Statesville, Charlotte, or Atlanta,” he said.

The records also reveal that Long’s ex-wife failed to produce many of the documents requested during the divorce, including bank account statements and tax returns. She changed attorneys midway through the proceedings.

The settlement in March 1985 awarded custody of the couple’s then 2-year-old son to the mother, with the father, then an assistant pastor at Morningstar Baptist Church, receiving visitation rights every other weekend.

Long, who went on to build New Birth into one of the nation’s most influential churches, was 27 when he married Houston. Their son, Edward Long, is New Birth’s youth director for junior and senior high ministries.

Read the full story here.

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