House of Prayer may lose 7 children today
11 News
May 8, 2001

Fulton County Juvenile Judge George Blau gave the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) permission Monday to remove seven more children from Kimberley and Charles Ogletree's family. The parents admitted to whipping the children as part of the church's disciplinary practices.

Social workers could do that very thing Tuesday morning.

The addition will mean the DFCS will have custody of 49 children whose parents attend the House of Prayer.

The DFCS' investigation into the church began in March. At issue is whether youngsters are whipped and beaten at the direction of the Rev. Arthur Allen.

Monday, the judge said she would allow DFCS to take the remaining children of Charles and Kimberly Ogletree. The Ogletree's 7-year-old son Caleb is already in foster care, where he was taken last week after his teacher reported bruises on his body.

Caleb's parents said the injuries came from a bike accident. In court Monday morning, Judge George Blau heard testimony that some marks on his body were not consistent with a bike accident.

The Ogletrees then refused to sign a safety order saying that they would not use anything other than their hands to spank their children.

When told their children were to be taken away, the parents refused to surrender them. DFCS workers will now have to go to their home to get them. Such an attempt last week was met by congregants who blocked police and social workers.

Also Monday, Judge Blau refused DFCS request in regards to six children of the Oglesby family and delayed the hearing on six children of Pastor Allen until May 16.

While DFCS battled the parents inside the courthouse, church members and supporters staged their second demonstration in as many days on the outside.

"This is too serious. You don't grab babies from their mother's arms without good reason. You do serious research and ask questions from both sides and then you make up your minds," said church supporter Janet Keck.

So far, Pastor Allen and seven church members, including Michael Oglesby and Charles Ogletree, have been charged with cruelty to children.

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