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From the AJC.com:

A status conference hearing was held Friday in DeKalb County State Court on several lawsuits filed against Bishop Eddie Long, alleging he used his influence, trips and gifts to coerce four young men into having sex.

Lawyers for both sides met with Judge Johnny Panos and tentatively set February for a mediation session and July for a pre-trial conference.

“Both sides seemed to be pretty open to discussion of a quick resolution of the case whether through trial or negotiation settlements,” said Panos.

A woman in the office of B.J. Bernstein, the lawyer representing the four young men, would only confirm that she attended the conference hearing.

Four men — Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris, Anthony Flagg and Spencer LeGrande — have sued the prominent Lithonia megachurch pastor and the 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The church’s mentoring program, the LongFellows Youth Academy, is named in three of the suits. The suits seek jury trials and unspecified damages.

Long has denied the allegations. In his responses to the suits, filed in court, Long admitted he occasionally shares a room with members of his congregation, but in each of the responses, he said “the plaintiff’s claims of sexual misconduct are not true.”

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