Former Minister Accused Of Violating House Arrest

Byron Alston Went To Meeting With Mayor, Rev. Al Sharpton Rally

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 Ten 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 Ten 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 2009. The Ten 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.