Atlanta Pastor Declared a Fugitive

WXIA-TV Atlanta/March 11, 2003
By Keith Whitney

Reverend Arthur Allen and two members of his congregation from the House of Prayer church were declared fugitives from the law Monday evening.

State officials said the pastor of the controversial church violated his parole and then failed to show up in court to explain why. The three convicts could now face up to 10 years in prison.

Last year, Allen was convicted on several charges, including spanking children in a way that Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS) considered abuse.

Allen, along with David and Sharon Duncan, spent weeks in jail before returning to the controversial church.

Officials said Allen, along with the Duncans and a busload of their combined children, have disappeared. The adults are all considered fugitives with warrants out for their arrest.

"We're actively pursuing them. We'll treat them like we would any fugitive, you know, we're going to try to apprehend them. We're going to try to find where they are," said Sherry Lipscomb of the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Probation officials said Allen and the Duncans failed to attend court-ordered counseling.

"We've not heard from them since the warrants were taken out, I guess about two weeks now," said the families' attorney Manny Arora.

The judge could order Allen and the Duncans back to jail where they could spend years behind bars.

"I can't speculate what the judge will do as regards to that evidence, however, he left it open and we will be allowed to present our side if and when our clients are taken into custody or turn themselves in," Arora said.

State officials said they are concerned about the safety of the children who are on the run with their parents.

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