This is crazy and outrageous.
A Georgia pastor and his wife have been arrested and charged with false imprisonment after they were caught holding eight people in their basement against their will.
According to reports, Curtis Keith Bankson and Sophia Simm-Bankston were operating an unlicensed group home but classified it as a church program called “One Step of Faith 2nd Chance.”
On the church’s website, it reveals that Pastor Bankston is “dedicated to giving back to the community by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and clothing the naked. First Lady Bankston’s mission is to help “broken families, restore and rebuild individuals, as well as feed the homeless.”
As per NBC, the couple was caught after Griffin Fire responded to a call about someone having a seizure at the home and saw that the basement door had a deadbolt on it, forcing the fire crew to climb through the window to get to the patient.
The police reported that “investigators determined that the people who were locked in the basement had mental or physical disabilities and were essentially imprisoned against their will, which created an extreme hazard as the individuals could not exit the residence if there were an emergency.”
Dexter Wimbish, Bankston’s attorney stated that the police misunderstood what was going on and said in a statement, “First, One Step Faith 2nd Chance Ministries has not been operating in a group home but a Christian Ministry that supplies room and board to individuals who have oftentimes been homeless or wards of the state.”
Wimbish continued, “You’re not talking about somebody profiting off of the backs of the poor, you’re talking about somebody who’s actually doing what God commanded us to do- go out into the byways and the highways, spread his message, and feed individuals and clothe individuals. He’s doing what his God has called him to do.”
The Bankstons are set to face additional charges. Wimbish also spoke on the charges that the couple is currently faced with. “We’re going to fight it with everything that we have. There is no intention to have a plea. They have not done anything wrong. Their community is standing behind them. Their family’s standing behind them.”