Georgia authorities have arrested a man claiming to be a pastor after he and his wife allegedly ran an illegal group home and kept eight physically and mentally disabled people in a basement against their will.
First responders arrived at the home in Griffin to a report of a person having a seizure. They were forced to climb through a window to reach the patient because the basement door was dead-bolted shut, which they told law enforcement about.
Authorities found the group of people living in the basement, where they were “locked in” during certain times of the day by their so-called “caretakers,” Curtis Keith Bankston, 55, and his wife Sophia Bankston, 56.
Police said the two operated an unlicensed group home and posed as a church known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance where Curtis Bankston claimed to be the pastor.
Investigators “determined that most, if not all, of the individuals in the basement, were mentally and/or physically disabled,” adding that the Bankston’s “essentially imprisoned them against their will.” According to police, the youngest of the victims was 25 and the oldest was 65.
Authorities said that the Bankston’s took control of the victims’ finances, medications and benefits.
Authorities are currently investigating the incident and have placed the victims in the care of the Department of Human Services.
Curtis Bankston was arrested on Tuesday and charged with false imprisonment. His wife Sophia was arrested a few days later and also charged with false imprisonment.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LAWANDCRIME.COM
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