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ALABAMA: Pastor arrested in police sex crimes sweep

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Pastor Donald Knizley, Zion House of Prayer for all Nations, was arrested in an undercover investigation acting on numerous citizens complaints about deviant behavior in public locationsMOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A local pastor may have some explaining to do to his small congregation following his arrest last week.

There was no answer at Donald Knizley's home or his church on Tanner Williams Road on Dec. 3. FOX10 News wanted to ask the 70-year-old pastor about his Nov. 30 arrest at the Japanese Gardens and Fish Hatchery in Mobile.

Knizley is charged with loitering for the purpose of deviant sexual activity, a charge that's surprising to some of his neighbors.

"Shocking. It's just, to have a biblical background like he has, it's just shocking,"  David Fleming said.

Fleming said he's visited the Zion House of Prayer for all Nations near his home only once, but he has known the pastor of the small church many years.

"His original plan was to make Sunday school classes out of that," Fleming said.

Fleming said the pastor built the spiritual complex himself.

Police said Knizley was arrested during a two-day sweep by undercover officers of the Mobile County Street Enforcement and Narcotics Team called MCSENT.

A total of eight suspects were arrested, most of them at the secluded Japanese Gardens across from Municipal Park. Police said they launched the undercover investigation at various areas of the city after receiving numerous citizens complaints about deviant behavior in public locations.

Tom McConnell has known his neighbor Knizley for 38 years, but said he doesn't know everything about him.

"Let me just put it like this. I know the man, but I don't know what his activities other than pastoring are, and I'd just rather not comment on that one way or the other right now," McConnell said.

Neighbors and the House of Prayer congregation may have to wait until the pastor goes before a judge to get answers about Knizley's arrest.

Knizley is free on bond. No court date has been set.