Pastor, Followers' Date With the Law
By Mike Stevens, WXIA-TV Atlanta
March 3, 2003

The controversial House of Prayer reverend and two congregation members may turn themselves in to police Monday.

Fulton County police issued the three arrest warrants for Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr., Sarah Duncan and David Duncan last Friday. Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr. recently finished serving a previous 90-day jail sentence last January 24.

A jury had convicted Rev. Allen of aggravated assault and cruelty to children for whipping two boys in front of his congregation in 2001.

In the same trial, the Duncans, the parents of one of the whipped boys, each faced 40- year sentences. Instead, David was sentenced to 40 days in prison, eight years probation and a $500 fine. Judge T. Jackson Bedford sentenced Sharon to 20 days in prison, five years probation and a $250 fine.

All three had since released from prison and set on probation. The conditions required each to attend a parental counseling course or face additional jail time, authorities said.

"They didn't comply with the order to go," said Scheree Lipscomb, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. "Therefore, the judge issued a warrant."

The Duncans said they had gone to an anger management class, but refused to sign a document stating they would only hand-spank their children.

Meanwhile, officials from the Georgia Division of Family and Children's Services have confirmed the agency's ongoing investigation into allegations regarding Rev. Allen.

They would not give specifics about the case.

The House of Prayer Sues
Rev. Allen and his followers struck back last Friday. During a press conference at the northwest Atlanta church, the House of Prayer announced their own allegations against city authorities.

The $100 million federal lawsuit filed last Friday in U.S. District Court names the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Police Department and DFACS.

The suit alleges that the 49 House of Prayer children taken from their homes and placed in protective custody last year were abused while being held by the authorities. "We're here today because those children were abused," said Lucinda Perry, a Douglasville attorney representing the families.


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