We all thought the Bishop Eddie Long sexual lawsuit mediation was about to be concluded. The presiding judge actually announced that the case should have been wrapped up by Easter, but that no longer holds true.

The negotiations have reportedly hit a snag. As a result, the judge told the media he is now going to schedule a trial date for late summer. The threat of a trial appears to conflict with an earlier statement made by State Court Judge Johnny Panos.

Around Easter, Panos said that the major obstacles to settlement had been resolved and that the parties were discussing small details.

Four young men have accused Long, the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, of sexual coercion. Despite denying the allegations, Long agreed to enter mediation.  With the reported breakdown, the potentially sordid details are now bound to come out.

New Birth spokesman Art Franklin declined to comment when reached by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution May 12. –terry shropshire

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