Georgia Pastor Had 8 People Locked In His Home, Deprived Of Basic Necessities

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This doesn’t sound so Holy…

According to a news report, a Georgia pastor is charged with false imprisonment after authorities found eight people locked in his home’s basement. 

Griffin Police Department said Curtis Keith Bankston and his wife, Sophia Simm-Bankston, were “holding the eight as part of an unlicensed ‘group home’ for people with disabilities.” Curtis Bankston, 55, practices as a pastor at One Step of Faith 2nd Chance. The wild discovery was made last Thursday (January 13) after the Griffin Fire Department E.M.T.s responded to someone having a seizure report. 

When help arrived, Yahoo pointed out cops and E.M.T. workers felt the home looked alarming. Police said, “Personnel noticed the entry door to the basement was double keyed (dead bolted), and access had to be gained by climbing through a window to reach the patient.” In addition, “Preliminary information indicated as many as eight individuals resided in the basement … and that they were ‘locked in’ at certain times by the ‘caretakers.’”

Authorities say the eight individuals were held against their will, and they were identified as “mentally and/or physically disabled.” Investigators called their living space “an extreme hazard,” because they wouldn’t be able to leave the basement in an emergency. The victims were also denied necessities, including their medication. 

Ultimately, the couple had control over the disabled individual’s finances, medications, and public benefits. Only the husband is getting charged, at least for right now. Officials said the investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are likely. In a statement, police officials said, 

“It is both frightening and disgusting to see the degree to which these individuals have been taken advantage of by people who were in a position of trust.” It ended with, “The City of Griffin, along with D.H.S., will continue to use any resources available to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

The eight, including five who are wards of the state, have been placed “into suitable care and housing” by the state’s Department of Human Services. Take a look at the news video: