SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46/Gray News) – A man who claims to be a pastor and his wife are charged with keeping eight people with mental and/or physical disabilities locked in a basement.
According to a press release, Curtis Keith Bankston, 55, and Sophia Simm-Bankston, 56, operated an unlicensed “group home” or personal care facility under the guise of a church known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance and were the “custodians” of those found in the basement.
The situation came to light after first responders were called to the couple’s home on January 13 to reports of an epileptic seizure. Emergency personnel were unable to enter the basement through the door as it was locked and had to gain access by climbing through a window.
The investigation also revealed that the Bankstons controlled finances, drugs and public benefits for people with disabilities. The police were also able to determine that the people had been denied their medication and, in some cases, medical attention as well.
The Division of Aging Services and the Department of Social Services were called and people were placed in appropriate housing and care.
Curtis Bankston was arrested for false imprisonment and transported to Spalding County Jail. The investigation is ongoing and charges against Sophia Bankston are pending, according to the Griffin Police Department.
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