Spalding County

Hours before pastor’s wife charged with holding people captive, attorney says they’re innocent

GRIFFIN, Ga. — Griffin police announced Thursday evening that they have arrested the wife of a pastor accused of running an unlicensed personal care home.

Sophia Simm-Bankston has been charged with false imprisonment, following her husband’s arrest last week for allegedly running an unlicensed group home, holding eight people against their will and taking money from the elderly and disabled.

Pastor Curtis Bankston’s attorney held a news conference Thursday and said his client is innocent.

Police say the couple were holding eight people against their will in the basement of the couple’s Griffin home. All the people being held were elderly or disabled.

Thursday, Bankston was with his attorney and other pastors who all claimed he was innocent.


His attorney, Dexter Wimbish, claims Bankston wasn’t operating a group home but said it was a Christian ministry that offered room and board to the homeless and wards of the state.

They showed Channel 2 Action News the door that EMS said was deadbolted last week when they tried to get inside.

EMTs said they had to get in through a window, and that’s when police say they found people being held against their will.

Wimbish claims the person who usually has the key to the door was not present when EMS arrived and said residents were allowed to come and go as they pleased before the door was locked at 8 p.m.

“We have his certificate from the state that allows him to operate anywhere inside the state of Georgia. He does have to comply with the local rules of the license. He did not do that, but this is a zoning issue that has become criminalized,” Wimbish said.

We are looking more into the charges against the pastors wife and working to get a response from police about the comments made by the pastor’s attorney, for WSB Tonight at 11 p.m.