0

Bahamian's Tell-All Book About Eddie Long Scandal

photo

Centino Kemp

By CARA BETHEL

cbrennen@tribunemedia.net

Centino Kemp’s new book, “First Lady” delves into a world to which few people are privy – the darker side of the men and women who consider themselves shepherds of the religious flock.

It is a peek into the life of the young Bahamian who found himself at the centre of a scandal involving Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of one of the Southern United States’ largest Baptist churches, an experience he says that was so traumatic, he became suicidal and still questions his faith and organised religion.

Centino was the fifth accuser in the Bishop Long case.

On September 21 and 22, 2010, three men – Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg and Jamal Parris – filed separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court alleging that Bishop Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him. On September 24, Spencer LeGrande, a member of a New Birth satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a similar suit, making him the fourth man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual misconduct by the bishop.

Bishop Long denied the allegations and in a prepared statement, said: “I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply. But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask for is your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges.”

In May, 2011, Bishop Long settled out of court with the four men.

In a statement posted on the website of Bishop Long’s church, officials said: “This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.”

US media reported in July that year that a fifth accuser received settlement money from a lawsuit filed against Bishop Long by four other men.

Then in September, Centino was revealed as the fifth accuser.

In the tell-all-book, which was released on Valentine’s Day, Centino speaks about that time in his life. The book’s title, “First Lady”, was the nickname Centino said he was given.

Centino told The Big T that there were a lot of “ungodly things” that occurred when he was affiliated with the church, but said that though he wanted to leave, he was unable to release himself from the spell the pastor had on him.

“A lot of ungodly things went on from the first time I arrived at that church when I was 16 and sex was the last thing on my mind, but my life was changed in less than 24 hours.”

He admitted that in the beginning he was drawn in by the lifestyle he was offered.

“We lived a good life and I was blessed.”

But Centino said as time went on he realised that he needed to remove himself from the corruption which he alleges was rampant in the church.

“I tried my best to walk away, (but) my heart did not want me to let go. But as time went on I had to stop acting like a child and put a man’s head on my body and take over my life.

“I have a nephew and a niece and I have to stand strong for them. What happened to me I can’t let happen to them or any other young man from the Bahamas. I made up my mind that I would not let history repeat itself. When I was leaving, I was at the lowest point in my life including suicidal thoughts and I never want to go there again. I just had too much going on. Writing this book was therapy for me. It is the pages of my diary and it was very healing to write it. To this very day, I can’t read it because it’s too deep and filled with too many emotions.”

Going public was made easier by the support he received from his family, Centino said.

“After I got myself together I told them everything. Before the media knew, they knew what had happened to me so it was not a shock, and my family is very supportive of me and we are very close to each other, they are my rock.”

Centino said that while there has been some negative reaction, he believes “such is life”. He added that he has been shocked by the support that he received while in Nassau to launch his book.

“They have my back and I love them for that. That is why I launched it here. I wanted to show them that I may live in the US but I am still that hard-heel island boy and I know where I come from and will never forget.”

Now that he has put his ordeal behind him, Centino said that he is ready to move on with his life.

“I have not heard from any one affiliated with the church officially and I really don’t care to hear anything from them if it don’t start with ‘sorry for messing up your life,’ I don’t want anything from them. What’s done is done and I have moved on.”

And he said that his faith, which had decreased, is slowly returning.

“I am still struggling with the idea of joining a church. For many years I had no faith, but I can say now that there is a God and in some funny way I think he has used me because I am just one man and I am fighting a powerful army and I am still alive. But I do not trust the church. I know that I cannot beat everyone with the stick of one man, but I have seen too many of them doing the same things. And if God was like man, they would all be dead for using his name.”

Centino said that he is now rebuilding his life and launching his singing career in the US.

“I love music and I have a lot of great fans. I’m having fun right now enjoying life.”

So what would he like people in similar situations to take from his experience?

“I would like people to understand that ministers are human just like everyone else, and if you were hurt by a man, you too can get back up. It is not your fault, speak up and do not hold onto that pain because it will kill you. And do not try to protect them, because they do not love you. I am very comfortable with myself and with my sexuality. I know who I am now.”

“First Lady” is now available on Amazon.com.

Comments

1plpgovernment 4 years, 5 months ago

puke, throw-up, vomit.by the look of the picture that ain happen over night definetly no victim. born a fruit now wanting a book to reap the fruit of false prentences. Bahamas be the flipping difference this gay evolution is out of control. In plumbing a male and female pipe must go together to work science prove opposite attract, like must repel man and woman produce..no other way nastiness must stop

1

242 4 years, 5 months ago

Christie say this is also a great display of democracy

0

Concerned 4 years, 5 months ago

Christie say if they want to get their pipes jammed on Rawson Square, that's true democracy. It is so interesting that the Chief Justice and PM made statements on gay marriage the same time when this book was being released. CALL THE PLUMBER!!

0

John 4 years, 5 months ago

I have some serious questions in my mind...Like does this 'guy or girl really know Eddie Long or is he/she jus riding on a wave to fame and fortune. Who confirms that he actually knew Long? Secondly, this persons seems to be basking so much in the lifestyle he claims he/she despises and one that was forced on him/her is a good thing a case never went to court because no jury can look on this person as a victim. and finally sentino says he/she has to be strong for the neices and nephews. So what does she tell them> "if it happens to you pretend you didn;t like it and after the lawsuits and you will come out smelling like a bed of roses? and write a book?" gimme a break (not wrist doe) looking at that picture,(weave. makeup and nails ll that female stuff), the bishop didnt have to do to much coercing to give centino the Long end of da stick! no pun intended..

0

Ironvelvet 4 years, 5 months ago

This is not the time to criticize this man. Have you ever wondered why people would choose something that everyone hates and ostracizes? No sane person would ever do that, I'm happy that Centino is open and accepting of himself and his homosexuality, you are born that way! Look at what demonizing homosexuality has done, it has driven people like Eddie Long to live secret lives.

If you notice Centino did not go on national television in the US to talk of the abuse he endured, he was revealed as a 5th accuser. The news has forced him to come out and discuss it and if he wants to do so in a book, that's his perogative. And look, he decided to reveal the book here in the Bahamas, do you think his sales and exposure would have been better in the Bahamas, a homophobic nation, or in the US? Its a no brainer. I believe he is genuine in his claims and motives.

Good luck Centino, life is hard and Lord knows its harder on the ostracized like yourself, but the Lord lifts the persecuted. Hold strong, and your faith will return. The church is a vehicle for God run by flawed humans. Stay with God, and never let a person turn you away from your Father.

1

John 4 years, 5 months ago

It is not discriminination..If you fall in a pig pen and the muck stinks, you try to climb out and clean yourself off, wash away the nasty stench...you don't stay and wallow in the muck and then try to glamorize your lifestyle. But if you dress it up and say "hey this pig muck don't really stink, you only have to get use to it", then you are actually enticing other young boys to follow your lifestyle especially if they think they can gain financially from 'allowing' themselves to get abused. And btw the book was released on Ebay, not only in the Bahamas.

0

John 4 years, 5 months ago

The fact that Santino wa not a party to the lawsuit does not mean anything. That may have been a legal decision made by the attorneys for the other plaintiffs. Considering his openly gay, flamboyant and feminine lifestyle do you think he could draw sympathy from a judge or jury. So the legal team may have come to an agreement that he not be part of the lwasuit but pratake in the settlement, and he has admitted that he got paid handsomely.

0

Ironvelvet 4 years, 5 months ago

The next time you all see a 3 year old little boy behaving in a feminine manner try and tell yourselves he chose that at 3 years old, just try and see how idiotic it sounds. The next time you are attracted to the opposite sex, think about if you couldn't make that feeling known, or act on the impulse of attraction in a physical way. You will see how difficult it is rebuke that instinctual feeling.

We may not like their flamboyance, shoot I don't like to hear the flamboyant, ignorant, krass heterosexual male comments hurled at me when I walk down a street, but hey I have to endure them because they are heterosexual and acting out their 'natural' attraction that has been accepted in our society. I couldn't imagine being sexual with a person of the same sex, just as much as they likely can't imagine being with a person of the opposite sex. So the argument of encouraging young boys to follow homosexual lifestyles is ludacrous.

Slavery was also in the Bible, for all of you about to evoke the word of God into this, but I don't see us going back to the Massa' to take us back as slaves because the word of God says so. And don't talk to me about old vs. new testament, to me that is the same as back in the day versus today. And don't we live in today?

1

John 4 years, 5 months ago

Man is a product of his heridity and environment. So behaviour that is not learned is inherited. Obviously there is a gay culture and lifestyle and while i do not encourage it, I tolerate it. If a child can act feminine at 3 years old, then don't you think a 16 y/o has pretty much made up his sexual orientation? We know that there are sexual abuses in the churches and it was even worse before persons had the couurage to come forward and talk. Bt not to blame a preacher for something you seem to be so comfortable with and call it a result of abuse.

0

PKMShack 4 years, 5 months ago

Making his father proud, or maybe we should believe that people are born gay, sissy A..

0

Honeybun 4 years, 5 months ago

Well wait...face made up,hair and nails did...wow!!! Although I may not agree with the homosexual lifestyle in any shape or form, I have to give him credit for speaking out especially in this country where the majority of us are homophobic. Whether his intent was for financial gain, fame, or perhaps it is the real deal, it takes a lot of courage to do this.

0

pilgrimagerock 4 years, 5 months ago

The majority of us are NOT homophobic. To call the majority who opposed the homosexual lifestyle on MORAL grounds homophobic is an insult.

0

Sign in to comment