Thursday, November 18, 2010

Convicted Youth Minister Out And About With Mayor Ballard, Al Sharpton And Amos Brown This Week

A youth minister who pleaded guilty to criminal confinement charges arising out of allegations of sexual battery made against him last year by women who had applied for jobs with the nonprofit agency funded in part by Mayor Greg Ballard's crime prevention grant program appears to have violated the terms of his probation just days after reaching a plea agreement in his criminal case. WRTV's Jack Rinehart says Byron Alston showed up at Mayor Ballard's meeting with members of the concerned clergy this week, was a guest on Amos Brown's talk show and attended Rev. Al Sharpton's rally all while he was supposed to be home under house arrest.

An Indianapolis youth minister who pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a sexual battery case may have violated the terms of his home detention by attending a meeting between clergy and city officials this week.

Byron Alston, the former executive director of Save The Youth Ministries, pleaded guilty to felony criminal confinement and habitual offender charges in exchange for sex-related charges being dropped in the case.

Two women had accused Alston of exposing his genitals and offering them jobs at the organization in exchange for sex in separate incidents in June and August 2009.
Pending the approval of the plea deal, Alston was placed on house arrest last week, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

But on Wednesday, Alston went to Barnes United Methodist Church, where the 10 Point Coalition hosted a meeting with Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Frank Straub and Chief Paul Ciesielski to talk about recent issues within the Police Department.

City officials and clergy members told 6News on Thursday they were shocked to learn that Alston, who had always maintained his innocence, had taken a plea, and that he didn't tell anyone at the meeting.

"I'm a little embarrassed and disappointed that he didn't let us know," said Deputy Mayor for Neighborhoods Olgen Williams.

"He probably wouldn't have been allowed into the church had we known" about the plea, said the Rev. Charles Harrison, president of the 10 Point Coalition. "I'm saddened that Byron has placed himself in this situation. He's done some good things for this community, but for him to get himself into this kind of situation, is disappointing to a lot of people."

Records show Alston attended the meeting wearing his home detention ankle bracelet.

Afterward, Alston went to a near-north side soul food restaurant for lunch and sat in as a guest on the Amos Brown radio show. Later in the evening, Alston was also seen attending a rally at the Eastern Star Church featuring the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sylvester Coleman, the executive director of Electronic Monitoring Service, the company handling Alston's home detention tracking, said officials will investigate the incident.

"This issue came to light this (Thursday) morning," Coleman said. "I have no other choice but to address this. I don't like it and it's uncomfortable."

Alston beat some rather long odds growing up in Indianapolis. He admitted to selling drugs as a young gang member and went to prison several times in the `90s for armed robbery, theft and confinement.

But he then turned his life around and became and anti-gang activist and minister, receiving crime control funding from the mayor's office.

He resigned from the Save The Youth Foundation in November of 2009. The 10 Point Coalition said that Alston played a very limited role with the organization.

If the judge accepts Alston's guilty plea on Jan. 12, he will serve six months on house arrest and three years on probation.
Imagine Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams being embarrassed Alston hadn't disclosed his plea agreement. News of the charges against him are more than a year old. Some of us are embarrassed Williams, a convicted felon, is a deputy mayor, and how the Ballard administration continues its incessant political pandering to this group of ministers. I thought if you were wearing one of those ankle bracelets, it alerted the monitoring service of your whereabouts so it detects whenever the offender leaves his or residence. Sylvester Coleman at Electronic Monitoring Service tells Rinehart the service will investigate the incident. Great monitoring servicing we're funding, eh?


Indy4U2C said...

In Marion County, home detention has no meaning. They put an ankle bracelet on the criminal, but don't care what he does.

Someone needs to look at the person in charge of this program in either Community Corrections or Probation and evalute their continued emmployment.

We learn about Marion Co home detention criminals performing crimes all too often.

Indy4U2C said...

...and deputy mayor Olgen Williams was "a little disappointed" that a CRIMINAL didn't disclose he would attend a ministers meeting, consort with Amos Brown, and see Al Sharpton!

Well, as a member of the community I am OUTRAGED!!!

-A little disappointed, Olgen? Frank Straub is a little disappointed if you don't stand at attention when he walks into the room. A criminal attending a meeting with the mayor as a minister that's been placated since the last election, well, Olgen, that's more of an OUTRAGE!

You know something, Olgen, it wouldn't be a bad idea to ask the Sheriff to assign deputies to the future ministers meetings, permanently outside the Amos Brown studios, and to the entrance of any future Sharpton events to run a wanted check/sex offender registry check on every person attending. They could clear some warrants up.

anonymous said...

Perhaps the right Reverend Al Sharpton can teach Straub, his boss Ballard, and the assorted community organizers the finer points of lying to the public, ala Tawana Brawley. Surely "New York" Frank remember that protracted sliming of the taxpayers.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I feel so sorry for Alston's female victims. There is no wonder that more survivors of abuse do not depend on the criminal justice system in Indiana to help them. Thanks to channel 6 for this report, and to you, AI.