Church Children to Stay With DFACS

Several members of the embattled House of Prayer church went to juvenile court Friday in an attempt to regain custody of their children.

The three sets of parents left empty handed when a Fulton County juvenile court judge ruled there was probable cause to believe the children had been abused.

DFACS has taken custody of 41 children of church members while they investigate allegations of church-backed beatings. Whether those children will be returned to their parents or stay in the care of DFACS will be determined in a hearing next week.

While taking custody of dozens of the children Tuesday, police also arrested the church's pastor and five members of his congregation on abuse and battery charges.

The Reverend Arthur Allen, Jr. (right) maintains that punishing children with switches and belts is discipline, not abuse.

It was not the first time the Rev. Allen has been arrested. In 1993, Allen was convicted of two counts of battery along with another of encouraging others to commit battery. Allen served 20 days in jail. He maintains he was doing what was necessary to discipline children.