Curtis Bankston: Georgia 'pastor', wife imprisoned 8 disabled people in 'care home' basement
GRIFFIN, GEORGIA: A man who claimed to be a pastor was arrested with his wife after it was found out that the couple had been running an illegal group home from their home and had kept eight physically and mentally disabled people captive in their basement.
First responders arrived at the Griffin residence, which is located an hour south of Atlanta, responding to the report of a patient having a seizure. The responders were forced to climb through a window to reach the patient who was living in a basement where the door was dead-bolt shut. This came off as suspicious to them and they decided to involve the police.
Police investigated the house and found a group of people living in the basement where they were 'locked in' during certain hours of the day. Their 'caretakers', Curtis Keith Bankston, 55, and his wife Sophia Bankston, 56, took primary care of them and were in charge of their daily routine. Police also found that the couple had been posing as a church known as One Step Of Faith 2nd Chance and operating an unlicensed and unregistered 'group home' under the same. Investigators “determined that most, if not all, of the individuals in the basement, were mentally and/or physically disabled,” according to the press release. The victims were aged between 25 and 65.
The property where the Bankstons were operating had been leased by them for about 14 months. They used the basement as a 'make-shift' home for the patients where they were practically 'imprisoned against their will', according to police. The couple was controlling the victims' finances, medications and public benefits. Police said that the victims “had been denied their medications and, in some instances, medical care as well.” Griffin Police contacted Georgia’s Division of Aging Services with the Department of Human Services, who are conducting their own investigation. Police said the people had been placed in the care of DHS.
Curtis and Sophia Bankston were arrested and charged with false imprisonment. Curtis Bankston was transported to Spalding County Jail after his arrest. “It is both frightening and disgusting to see the degree to which these individuals have been taken advantage of by people who were in a position of trust,” police said in a statement.