The fifth accuser involved in the Bishop Eddie Long scandal says an alter ego saved his life after a reported suicide attempt. The I-Team’s Dale Russell talked to Centino Kemp in his first-ever TV interview.
“I would just tell you, everything is not as it seems,” Kemp said regarding any relationship with Bishop Long. “Nothing is real. And everything that glitters isn't gold.
In Centino Kemp's world, everything is a mystery.
“I'm just Centino. I don't consider myself a gender. I'm not a transvestite, transgendered...I'm a boy, and I like being a boy,” said Kemp.
Kemp waltzed into town during an ongoing high profile lawsuit and -- without joining the suit -- walked away with at least $94,000 in his pocket. Some of his closest friends in Atlanta find it all hard to understand.
“He came here, had his story together, and he got money off of it,” said Willie Alexander.
The story is now well known. Four young members of New Birth Missionary Baptist church filed sexual misconduct lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long. The suits were later settled . Money was paid. Bishop Long denied any wrongdoing.
After the suits were filed, Centino Kemp showed up in Atlanta . He had been living in South Florida and North Carolina and was never a member of New Birth Missionary.
But as the Bishop Long case moved from the public courtroom to private settlement talks, Centino Kemp joined in. Kemp wouldn't discuss the case, and pointed out his name isn't on any lawsuit.
“I am not the fifth accuser. I'm Centino Kemp, I didn't accuse nobody of nothing,” he said.
So, why was he in the case? Less than three weeks after the Bishop Long lawsuits were filed, Centino Kemp says he tried to kill himself. He was admitted at the DeKalb Mental Health Center. He told therapists he had been sexually involved with Bishop Eddie Long for years.
“I was in a dark place, I can say that,” Kemp said.
Kemp would not tell FOX 5 why he tried to kill himself, but the I-Team confirmed that Kemp told the staff he had been "sexually and physically abused for six years by Pastor E. Long." Records indicate Kemp stayed two days and then asked to be discharged after telling the staff he was with "crazy people...I'm not like them."
Kemp told I-Team senior reporter Dale Russell that during his stay, his alter ego, Wild Child Kemp, took over and saved his life.
“I need to get up out of here, I can live. I don't have to be suicidal taking pills, because I have better opportunities than other people here. That's when like, Wild Child, was like, ‘You need to get up, let's go,’” Kemp said.
But Kemp's closet friends in Atlanta don't understand it. Willie Alexander and Jayson Cobb met Centino after the Bishop Long settlement. After hanging out with him for months, they both question his story.
“He sits up all night on the Internet and watches Eddie's online sermons,” Alexander said.
Both say they don't understand why Kemp had no pictures, notes, e-mails or anything from Bishop Long. As for Centino's tattoo on his wrist that says Eddie Long, Alexander said, “He told me he had it some years ago but that tattoo looks recent.”
Kemp told Dale Russell that his friends are just mad at him because he stopped giving them money.
After Centino Kemp sat down for the I-Team interview, his publicist released promotional material for an autobiographical book called “First Lady.” The book promises tales of the "lust, violence, sex, and lies" that surrounded Kemp's long-term relationship with a renowned African-American bishop.
Alexander has read a draft of the book.
“He hasn't had a relationship with nobody. He don't know how to deal with people,” said Alexander.
Kemp's friends say they saw the settlement documents that showed Kemp was paid $150,000. They say legal fees and expenses were deducted.
The I-Team confirmed the amount paid to Kemp was $94,149.81.
“I've died and come back to life, literally,” Kemp said.
Kemp collected his settlement check in May and moved in with Willie Alexander in a Peachtree Street high rise. But then, after a few months, like a ghost, he vanished, leaving behind a box full of his music and a room full of mysterious memories.
“He wants to be famous. He's star-struck. I just.... he wants to be famous,” said Jayson Cobb.
Kemp said he has no regrets.
“I am 22 years old. I don't regret anything I've been through in my life, because it all made me stronger,” said Kemp.
Jamal Paris and Spencer LaGrande, both New Birth members, went on Atlanta radio station V103 recently and said they never met Centino Kemp and never once saw him at the church.
Bishop Eddie Long is seeking to recover at least $300,000 each from all three young men, alleging they violated their confidentially agreements.