Ministry operator who took in disabled children is charged with child cruelty

David Fahey was arrested on four counts of felony cruelty to children and three counts of felony false imprisonment following an investigation into a children's ministry he operates.

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David Fahey was arrested on four counts of felony cruelty to children and three counts of felony false imprisonment following an investigation into a children's ministry he operates.

WRIGHTSVILLE — A Middle Georgia man who, along with his wife, took in more than a dozen children from around the world with severe disabilities and adopted them has been accused of child abuse.

David Fahey, 62, faces four counts of felony cruelty to children and three counts of felony false imprisonment, following a two-month investigation into allegations of abuse of disabled adults and children, according to a news release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. His wife, Kathy Fahey, had been a subject of the investigation, too, the GBI said, but she died on Feb. 1 before it was completed.

Neither the GBI news release nor a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office specified what the Faheys were accused of doing to the children.

The couple operated The King’s Cleft, a Christian nonprofit organization located on a 20-acre farm in a rural area between Macon and Savannah. The Faheys took in children from other countries who had been adopted by American parents but then given up because of immense challenges in caretaking, according to a profile of the ministry published in Georgia Magazine in 2013.

Children from Ukraine, Estonia, China, India, Vietnam and Africa were living there, the article said. One child was described as autistic with a skin disease that left his body covered in tumors, another as struggling with self-mutilating behaviors.

At the time the article was written, there were 16 children and young adults at the home, ranging from ages 6 to 26. The children were homeschooled with a Christian curriculum.

“We’re a Christian family,” Kathy Fahey was quoted saying, “called to provide a safe, loving, permanent home for special-needs children and young adults who have been displaced.”

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Georgia child protection authorities have removed five children who were living at The King's Cleft when the state began investigating the nonprofit.

Credit: Screenshot

Georgia child protection authorities have removed five children who were living at The King's Cleft when the state began investigating the nonprofit.

Credit: Screenshot

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Georgia child protection authorities have removed five children who were living at The King's Cleft when the state began investigating the nonprofit.

Credit: Screenshot

Credit: Screenshot

The King’s Cleft property includes a family cemetery, where Kathy Fahey and several of the children are buried. A child with severe physical disabilities, adopted from Ukraine, died in 2019 at age 13. One of the first special-needs children they adopted, a 20-year-old who was born in Florida, died in 2020.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution began looking into The King’s Cleft earlier this week and had filed requests for records with local law enforcement.

Just before the criminal investigation began, one of the Faheys’ adopted children, a 14-year-old, ran away from the facility for at least the third time since last summer.

It was not clear Wednesday if that’s what prompted the investigation. Johnson County Sheriff Greg Rowland would not talk about the case Tuesday, and the GBI released only limited information in writing.

On Wednesday the AJC spoke to Fahey at his property, but he declined an interview request. Hours later, he was booked into the Johnson County jail and photographed wearing the same QAnon T-shirt he had on earlier.

According to the GBI, when it began investigating, there were five children and five adults at King’s Cleft. The children were removed by the state Division of Family and Children Services early in the investigation, and the adults were being removed on Wednesday by Adult Protective Services.

“This remains an open and fluid investigation and additional charges are likely,” the news release from the sheriff’s office said.

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