Five House of Prayer children return home

AP, Nov. 15, 2002

ATLANTA – Five children from the House of Prayer were returned to their parents Thursday after being in group homes and foster care for more than a year.

A juvenile court judge ordered their release but another boy will remain in state custody. Judge Peggy Walker of Douglas County said more progress must be made in family counseling before he can go home.

Last month, the Rev. Arthur Allen and four other members were found guilty of aggravated assault and cruelty to children for whipping two boys in front of the congregation in February 2001.

The beatings eventually led to a state investigation of the northwest Atlanta church. In March 2001, caseworkers seized 49 children from six House of Prayer families.

Church members represented themselves during the trial, but have hired a lawyer to handle their appeals. Six other House of Prayer members still face trial on charges of cruelty to children.

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