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Atlanta pastor under ‘review’ for possible crimes against children


Atlanta pastor under 'review' for possible crimes against childrenDeKalb County, GA — A DeKalb County pastor is the focus of prosecutors trying to find out if he was involved in any crimes against children.


On Tuesday, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office officially began looking into Bishop Johnathan Alvarado, senior pastor and founder — nearly 20 years ago — of Total Grace Christian Center, on Covington Highway.


The D.A.’s spokesman, Erik Burton, said that an assistant D.A. and an investigator have been assigned to the case.


Burton told 11Alive News it is not a full-blown investigation.


According to the county’s Online Judicial System, it’s a “crimes against children review,” with Bishop Alvarado listed as “defendant.”


“I was contacted by the D.A.’s office on Monday,” said Shaun King, who used to be one of the church’s pastors.


King heard from the D.A.’s office after he began blogging and tweeting warnings to church members and others about the allegations against Bishop Alvarado.

King said he found out about them only last week, then talked with others from the church who he says are familiar with the accusations — of sexual misconduct against children.


“It appears that [prosecutors] were already aware of some of the facts of the case” when they called, King said. “And they saw some of the tweets that I wrote about it. And they just wanted me to know that they were already looking into it and investigating the facts.”


King said he served as a pastor at the church for about seven years, then left in 2007 and, with his wife Rai, started “Courageous Church” which meets in midtown Atlanta.


“I know the families, and so that’s really what just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks” when he heard, King said, adding that the allegations have all been kept quiet and, he said, that’s wrong.


“In our city, when a pastor commits a crime against children, people need to know.”


Bishop Alvarado has not been arrested or charged with any crime.


As of Wednesday night he had not returned messages from 11Alive News seeking comment about how he is addressing the information in the blogs and tweets that King and his wife have written about him, and about the D.A.’s “review” of him.


D.A. Spokesman Erik Burton would not say how far the review might go and if it might become a full-blown investigation. His only comment: “We are aware of the allegations involving Johnathan Alvarado, and are looking into the matters.”

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