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International House of Prayer

The lawyer for Micah Moor, a member of a small group associated with the International House of Prayer (IHOP), says that his client’s statement to police that he and several other members of the spiritual community killed Bethany Ann Deaton, the new wife of leader Tyler Deaton, was a fiction born of a fragile mental state induced by Bethany Ann’s suicide and the removal of Tyler Deaton from the close-knit religious community. Moore had said that he and the other men who lived with the Deatons drugged and sexually assaulted Bethany over several months. They killed her, he said, because they were afraid she was going to tell her therapist about the abuse. Community members first got together at Southwestern University, in Georgetown, Texas, and moved to Kansas City to participate in the IHOP “end times” evangelical mission base that has drawn thousands of young people from all over the world. Tyler Deaton has not been charged in Bethany’s death, but he and others in the group are being investigated. Three of the men whom Moore implicated told police that they had long-term sexual relations with Deaton, which were kept secret from his wife. (Kansas City Star, 11/29/12) [IT 4.1 2013] 

Wayne Beasen warned in May that something was seriously amiss at Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Grandview, Mo. The IHOP group is anaggressive, militant, angry, fundie [sic] cult growing under your [Kansas City exurb’s] nose… It is an ideal incubator for young narcissists with Messiah complexes who fancy themselves prophets… Nothing had freaked me out as much as my evening at IHOP. The young people there were nothing short of zombies… disconnected from the world… If this weren’t scary enough, it appears that IHOP is attempting to take over the city of Grandview and turn it into a hotbed of fundamentalism. IHOP bought 125 acres adjacent [IT 4.1 2013]to I-49 and plans a $30 million phase-one investment that includes a new Mission Base with a 2,500-seat, 24/7 prayer room, a 5,000-seat weekend church and conference facility, and apartments for students and missionaries. (Huffington Post, 11/21/12) [IT 4.1 2013]

Fulton County Georgia Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford has ruled that House of Prayer leader Arthur Allen, Jr., should not get a new trial. Allen, 72, was convicted in 2002 for his supervisory role in the beating of church members’ children with a belt. He was sentenced to 90 days in prison and 10 years’ probation. [csr 3.3 2004]

Lawyers for Allen, who failed to report to probation officers and avoided arrest for five months in 2003, argued that the trial court had been wrong to let him defend himself. But Judge Bedford said he’d repeatedly asked Allen to accept a court-appointed lawyer and even made available a group of attorneys to advise Allen on legal issues and strategy, all of which Allen refused. (AP in Access North Georgia, Internet, 7/16/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

House of Prayer leader the Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr., convicted of child cruelty, has been sentenced to two years in prison for violating his earlier probation sentence. Allen was recently arrested after eluding authorities for five months following his failure to attend a hearing to determine if his probation should have been revoked. [csr 2.3 2003]

Allen and two other church members were convicted last year of cruelty to children in the beatings of two young boys in the congregation. He was sentenced to 90-days in jail and 10 years’ probation but refused to attend anger management counseling and objected to a court order to stop whipping children with a belt. [Allen says that the harsh discipline he metes out is biblically sanctioned.] (Saeed Ahmed, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Internet, 8/19/03; AP, Internet, 8/25/03) [csr 2.3 2003]

The House of Prayer, some of whose members were convicted of child abuse last year, have filed a federal lawsuit charging that when the state took some of its children into protective custody, it sent them to foster homes and institutions more abusive than their families’ homes. The suit details the alleged abuse and says that police used excessive force and injured some children when they took them into custody.[csr 2.2 2003]

Meanwhile, authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of the House of Prayer Leader, the Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr., because he has not complied with the terms of his court-ordered counseling. (Jill Young Miller, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Internet, 3/1/03) [csr 2.2 2003]

Rev. Arthur Allen, head of the House of Prayer, convicted of cruelty for his punishment of children in the church, has been “missing” for two months and recently failed to attend a probation hearing. Nor has he been in touch with his probation officer in Atlanta. (Kevin Rowson, 11 Alive, WXIA, Internet, 5/13/03) [csr 2.2 2003]

Child beating charges against six members of the Atlanta House of Prayer have been dropped because, says the District Attorney, they were not primarily responsible for the crimes. The Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr., and four other members, were convicted in October for beatings [allegedly justified by Scripture] that severely bruised two boys, and sentenced to 20 to 90 days in jail. (AP, Internet, 12/24/02) [csr 2.1 2003]

Rev. Arthur Allen, leader of The House of Prayer, has left jail, in Atlanta, where he served three months for whipping two boys in his church. He says that he is not sorry for what he did, and that his constitutional rights have been violated because probation terms prohibit practicing and preaching corporal punishment, which he says is rooted in the bible. He, and other church members sentenced to lesser terms, have hired a prominent Atlanta attorney to appeal their convictions. Allen boasted of recruiting fellow inmates who will join the church when they leave jail. (Jill Young Miller, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/26/03) [csr 2.1 2003]

Two children, among 49 taken into “protective custody” by the state in 2001 from members of the Atlanta-based House of Prayer, have been returned to their parents by a judge. This represents a break in the impasse between state officials and members of the independent church, which calls for corporal punishment for misbehaving children. Six children remain in custody and 34 have been returned to their parents. Authorities have acknowledged that their evidence indicates that as few as three children had been abused. [csr 1.3 2002]

The judge made one set of parents promise to get family therapy, tutor their child for her schoolwork, and meet monthly for the next quarter with a state child welfare case worker. The judge disregarded arguments by a state agency lawyer that the children should remain in custody because their parents have not disavowed their reliance on corporal punishment. The judge is reviewing the cases of the children still in custody, some of whom say they want to go home. But 11 parents still face criminal charges of cruelty to children stemming from spankings, and they face prison terms of one to 20 years if convicted. (Alan Judd and Jill Young Miller, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Internet, 8/16/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

The Rev. Arthur Allen and four of his followers in the House of Prayer were convicted of cruelty to children in connection with disciplinary whippings in his church. Although Allen faced the possibility of 20 years in prison, Judge T. Jackson Bedford sentenced him to 90 days in jail and 10 years’ probation, saying that while the defendants clearly loved their children, they had “crossed the line” when they badly bruised two boys. “What happened here,” he said, “was not about disciplining children. It was about, for lack of a better word, beating children.”[csr 1.3 2002]

Allen, who draws no salary and lives simply, and justifies corporal punishment on Biblical grounds, seemed unrepentant. When the judge asked him if he would follow a court order not to advise parents to whip disobedient children, Allen said only: “I’m going to follow the Ten Commandments.” He has accused the government of trampling his congregation’s right to discipline their children according to their beliefs.[csr 1.3 2002]

The judge said that he would jail the defendants for years unless they spanked only their own children — and then only with an open hand on the buttocks — and completed an intensive counseling program. He also banned them from bringing children to the House of Prayer for punishment and from advising or assisting other parents with punishment, which had been the custom.[csr 1.3 2002]

In 1993, the Rev. Allen — who advocates marriage for 14-year-old girls to protect them from becoming unwed mothers and going on welfare — was convicted in DeKalb County (GA) of ordering the whipping of a 16-year-old girl, and he served 20 days in Jail. (Steve Visser and Jill Young Miller, Altanta Journal-Constitution, Internet, 10/18/02) [csr 1.3 2002]

Eleven members of Atlanta’s House of Prayer have refused a prosecution deal to serve five years’ probation instead of going to trial on charges of cruelty to children and aggravated assault that could lead to many years in prison. They also refused the assistance of court-appointed lawyers, saying that they would defend themselves.[csr 1.2 2002]

The charges stem from a February 2001 incident in which two boys were held in the air and whipped by adults at the direction of church leader the Rev. Arthur Allen, leaving wounds on their torsos, according to a 14-count indictment. The boys’ parents are among the 11 charged. The church believes adamantly in corporal punishment.] (Jill Young Miller, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Internet, 6/25/02) [csr 1.2 2002]

A Fulton County (GA) grand jury has indicted 11 members of the House of Prayer, a small northwest Atlanta church, on charges of cruelty to children and aggravated assault, capping a nearly yearlong investigation into allegations of abuse of the congregation’s children, 49 of whom the state took into protective custody. Among those indicted is the House of Prayer’s pastor, the Rev. Arthur Allen, Jr. Conviction on the felony charges can lead to prison terms of one to 20 years. [csr 1.1 2002]

The charges stem from an incident near the end of the church service when two boys ages 10 and 7 were suspended in the air and whipped by several adult church members, leaving open wounds on their torsos, according to the 14-count indictment. Both boys’ parents are among the 11 charged. [csr 1.1 2002]

The group’s services can last as long as eight hours, and they regularly feature public beatings that sometimes last 30 minutes. Allen calls it “tough love” — corporal punishment as an act of human kindness — the best way of instilling discipline in children growing up on crime-ridden streets. “If we can use milder punishment, then I’m for it. But sometimes it doesn’t work, and I can’t let them just take over the house,” the reverend said.[csr 1.1 2002]

Members of the House of Prayer say that when they spank their children, they’re following God’s law, but “This is not a normal whipping,” Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard said. “These are severe and extreme beatings. We think that is a clear line of demarcation.” A defiant Allen declared he and other church members would plead not guilty and will defend themselves without a lawyer’s help. “I’m delighted for the opportunity to face these charges,” said Allen, “to resolve everything one way or another. My faith is still in the Lord. I’m not wavering.” Allen’s followers, carrying signs and child-size coffins, walked from the Fulton County Courthouse to the Division of Family and Children Services then to the state Capitol, on the opening day of the state legislative session, to protest the state’s actions.[csr 1.1 2002]

Allen, who exerts strong influence over his congregation, has never denied the boys were whipped, but he and other church members say such spankings are necessary to maintain discipline. And they have charged that law enforcement and social services agents have interfered with their religious freedoms by seeking to impose limits on how they punish their children. The district attorney met with Allen hoping to mediate the case without taking it to trial. “I was not able to persuade Reverend Allen to change his philosophy regarding the punishment of children,” Howard said, so the criminal case moved forward.[csr 1.1 2002]

The state, meanwhile, will move forward as planned with efforts in Juvenile Court to terminate the parental rights over eight children and put them up for adoption. Two others are scheduled to be released from state custody soon. Authorities said that state officials will not take the other 39 children into custody for a second time. They were seized from their homes last spring, some in emotional scenes repeatedly played on Atlanta television stations. The children were released after officials acknowledged they had no evidence indicating that more than three children had been abused. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/15, 19/02, Internet; BBC, 1/19/02, Internet) [csr 1.1 2002]

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