ATLANTA (AP) - A pastor previously convicted of child cruelty has died in a house fire in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Medical Examiner's office told WXIA-TV that the Rev. Arthur Allen died Monday in a blaze. He was 81.
Allen and four others were convicted in 2002 of beating boys at his independent church, the House of Prayer. He spent two years in prison as a result of the case.
Prosecutors said that church members beat children with a belt strap while under Allen's supervision.
Church members said at the time that they had the right to punish their children when they misbehave. They said the church was persecuted for its beliefs.