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Judge: Pastor convicted of child abuse shouldn’t get new trial

The Associated Press, USA
July 15, 2004 • Thursday July 15, 2004

A Fulton County judge ruled Thursday that the pastor convicted of child cruelty at his Atlanta church will not get a new trial.

Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford made the ruling after hearing last week’s arguments that the court erred by letting House of Prayer pastor Arthur Allen Jr. defend himself.

But Bedford had said he repeatedly asked Allen to accept court-appointed counsel and had 11 lawyers on standby to advise him on legal questions and strategy help that Allen would not take.

Allen and four others were convicted in 2002 of beating boys at his independent church.

Deborah Poole, Allen’s lawyer, argued last week that the court should have appointed Allen a standby lawyer despite his objections.

Allen, 72, was the focus of one of the state’s most highly publicized trials in 2002 when prosecutors proved that church members beat children with a belt strap while under Allen’s supervision.

He was sentenced to 90 days in prison and 10 years of probation, but he didn’t report to his probation officer and skipped a 2003 hearing. For five months, he eluded police officers until he was arrested in August 2003 by National Park Service rangers who found him in a parked car in a Cobb County park.

As a result, a judge sentenced him to two years in prison.

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