A former pastor of a metro Atlanta church was sentenced to five years in prison and another 15 years on probation after he pleaded guilty to child molestation charges.
Benjamin August Harter, 81, the former pastor at Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church in Sandy Springs and a Cumming resident, pleaded guilty to three counts of child molestation at a hearing on Aug. 12.
According to jail records, as of Thursday, Harter is residing at Forsyth County Jail until he is transferred to a state prison.
After serving five years in state prison, Forsyth County’s Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge said that Harter will serve another 15 years on sex offender probation, which “is a very restrictive probation.”
Under sex offender probation, offenders are supervised to make sure that they make no contact with any child under the age of 18, including their own children. Supervisors monitor the offender’s communications and behavior and strictly advises that they cannot travel alone at any time.
Harter was originally arrested at his home on Westchester Place in Forsyth County in August 2019 after allegations against him gave authorities “ample probable cause” to obtain warrants for his arrest.
During the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office investigation, a spokesperson also told FCN in October 2019 that the United State Department of Homeland Security was investigating Harter’s “overseas travel and adoptions.”
Before his association with Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church in 2014, Harter led congregations Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Atlanta and in the Philippines.
Harter was released from jail later in October after he posted an $82,500 bond. He was re-arrested after the hearing on Aug. 12, according to jail records.
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