Jailed Pastor Denied New Trial

The Rev. Allen is escorted at the county jail.

WXIA-TV Atlanta/July 15, 2004
By Tracey Christensen

An Atlanta pastor jailed for beating two boys inside his independent church will not receive a new trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

The Rev. Arthur Allen went to court one week ago to ask Judge T. Jackson Bedford for a new trial. Allen's new lawyer, Deborah Poole of the Georgia Justice Project, argued that Judge Bedford erred when he allowed Allen to defend himself at his original trial. The prosecutor countered that Allen had plenty of time to obtain representation.

Reverend Allen now has 30 days to file an appeal of Judge Bedford's ruling with the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Allen was convicted in October 2002 on charges of aggravated assault and cruelty to children and sentenced to ten years, with 90 days to be served in jail and the rest on probation.

After his release from jail, the reverend failed to appear at a March 2003 hearing and refused to follow his probation guidelines, which included attending anger management classes and to abstain from whipping children.

Rev. Allen defied authorities for five months before U.S. Park Rangers found him, his wife and their eight children on Sope Creek Road near Johnson Ferry Road, in North Fulton County. Judge Bedford subsequently sentenced Rev. Allen to two years in prison for violating probation.

During the investigation into the church, 49 children of House of Prayer members were taken into state custody when their parents refused to stop whipping them. All but the two boys at the center of Allen's conviction - then ages 10 and 7 years old - remain in the custody of Georgia's Division of Family and Children's Services.

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