Bishop Eddie Long's Megachurch, New Birth, Faces Fifth Lawsuit for Sexual Harrasment
LITHONIA, Ga. (CBS/AP) A former employee of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, the same church where Bishop Eddie Long has been accused of coercing four young men into sexual relationships, has filed a lawsuit against the place of worship alleging that she was sexually harassed by a former supervisor - making it lawsuit number five for the Atlanta-area megachurch.
In the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Tamara Colson claims that a male supervisor showed her a picture of male genitals last October. New Birth was mentioned in the four lawsuits against Long last month, but he is not named in this suit, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Colson, who was also a member of the church with her family, says the man became her supervisor earlier this year and began a "campaign of torment" against her. The suit also claims that Colson was demoted after she complained and was eventually fired.
Art Franklin, a spokesman for the church, said in a statement that New Birth requires employees to report abuse within 48 hours and that Colson did not complain until August, months after the alleged abuse occurred.
In the suit Colson says she was hired by New Birth as an audio engineer in August 1998 and was later promoted to duplication manager, a position in which she managed the reproduction of the church's broadcasts, reports the Journal Constitution.
According to the lawsuit, Colson claims a male supervisor in New Birth's television department showed her a picture of a male sex organ on his cell phone, afterwards Colson said she was "horrified" and asked the supervisor, "What the hell is your problem?" reports the paper.
The man apparently gave her a smirk and walked away, the suit states.
Colson alleges in the suit that in May 2010 her department was to be managed by the same department where the male supervisor who showed her the photo worked. She requested to be transferred out of that department and claimed that she would step down, according to the paper.
A month later she found out that the man was going to be her boss and after complaining to church officials, Colson alleges that she was then demoted to a secretarial position, according to the Journal Constitution.
Colson says she was eventually fired from the church.
The lawsuit also claims that New Birth knew of previous sexual harassment incidents between the male supervisor and other female employees, but no action was taken. Franklin says an investigation has begun.
Colson's lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages, the paper reporter.
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