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Suspect in abduction became minister month before DeKalb girl’s attack

Alvin Joiner had been waiting years to become a minister. 

He had watched as others received their robes at New Hope Cathedral — patience that senior pastor Richard Angelo Leaphart called “humble.” 

It wasn’t until a Jan. 7 service that Joiner, a member of the Henry County church for 10 years, got his chance.  

“It comes at a great cost,” Leaphart said before Joiner and several others were ordained. “It’s a great responsibility. It’s more than just putting on these garments.”

A month later, DeKalb County police identified 60-year-old Joiner as a suspect in a 14-year-old girl’s abduction near Miller Grove High School.  

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MORE: Cops nab man accused of abducting girl near DeKalb high school

Joiner was arrested Thursday after authorities caught him while he was delivering newspapers to the school. Police think he may be connected to three other abductions that are similar in nature. 

The DeKalb police vice, narcotics and gang unit staked out the high school looking for a man who matched the description of the sketch released following the Feb. 6 alleged attack. 

Years before his latest arrest, Joiner was charged with pandering and solicitation of sodomy in a May 2006 case involving a 16-year-old girl, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. The details were not immediately available from Atlanta police.

Joiner was convicted of two counts of pandering in April 2007 as part of a plea deal, Fulton district attorney’s spokesman Dexter Bond said.  

Since Joiner’s offenses were misdemeanors, he was not required under Georgia law to register as a sex offender. 

Leaphart admitted to Channel 2 Action News he didn’t know about Joiner’s convictions even though the church does background checks as far back as 10 years. The church performed a check on Joiner in 2008, according to Channel 2, and it would’ve included his previous arrests and conviction. 

"A letter of dismissal has been given and we will also further investigate the matter for the protection of our families and children,” the church said in a statement. “We are in prayer for all of the children and families involved.” 

Joiner remains in the DeKalb jail on charges of kidnapping and enticing a child for indecent purposes.

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