Both wife, pastor arrested for false imprisonment of people found locked in basement

WGXA [Macon, GA]

January 20, 2022

By Haley Garrett

After a pastor was arrested when disabled individuals were found in the basement of an unlicensed group home, now his wife is facing a charge and is in custody.

Last week, when Griffin Fire Department went to assist a call concerning a seizure, they noticed the patient could only be reached through the window of a basement, as the basement door was locked.

Further investigations found that up to 8 people were locked in the basement in what was an “unlicensed” personal care facility/group home.

The victims’ ages were between 25 and 65.

They discovered multiple issues as well as potential abuse, and neglect of the handicapped people

The “caretakers” were identified as, 55-year-old Curtis Keith Bankston, who is a pastor, and his spouse, 56-year-old Sophia Simm-Bankston. They operated it under the guise of a church program known as One Step of Faith 2nd Chance.

Curtis was arrested and charged with false imprisonment last Friday but his wife’s charges were still pending.

This week, officials are giving the update that Sophia has now also been arrested.

She is being charged the same as her husband, false imprisonment.

The Griffin Police Department is asking anyone who had a family member or loved one under the care of the Bankston’s to please contact Investigator Clark at 770-229-6450 ext. 544 or email at