Pastor in Georgia who served in PH faces child molest charge
SANDY SPRINGS, Georgia — Authorities in Georgia arrested a longtime pastor for alleged child molestation.
News outlets report 80-year-old Benjamin “Gus” Harter was arrested Friday, Aug. 30, at his home in Westchester Place in southwest Forsyth on a single charge of felony child molestation.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater released no details, but he says detectives found “ample probable cause” after their investigation began last week. He said Harter could face more charges as the investigation is still going on.
Harter has served as pastor of Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church in Sandy Springs since 2014. The church’s website says Harter had led congregations in Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Atlanta and the Philippines.
In the mid-1990s, Harter and his wife began traveling to the Philippines regularly to work with churches there, according to the nta Journal-Constitution.
He later resigned from Bethany church in May 2000 and moved with his family to the Philippines for several years, according to the Ebenezer Primitive Baptist website.
In the Philippines, the Harters built an orphanage before returning to the U.S. in 2008. The couple adopted 19 children over the years, bringing them back to their home.
An associate pastor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that Harter was no longer a pastor or member of the church.