5/04/09 – Evidence of other crimes to be used against Alamo

Pine Bluff Commercial
May 4, 2009

Evidence of other crimes to be used against Alamo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Federal lawyers prosecuting jailed evangelist Tony Alamo want to offer evidence at trial showing he had sex with other women and underage girls.

In a court filing Monday, prosecutors said they wanted to include witness testimony from at least two women who were underage when Alamo had sex with them. Other women will testify about how Alamo had them transported across state lines to meet him for sex, the filing claims.

Alamo, 74, faces a 10-count indictment accusing him of taking underage girls across state lines for sex.

“This represents important evidence regarding the defendant’s intent to transport minor females across state lines for sexual purposes,” the filing reads. “Certainly if the defendant considered himself to have a relationship with the women who were transported across state lines, he would intend that the transportation be conducted to initiate or continue in a sexual relationship.”

Jeff Harrelson, a Texarkana lawyer representing Alamo, declined to immediately comment.

Alamo’s ministry has churches in Arkansas, California and New York. The church uses a fleet of passenger vans to ferry members between locations, as well as out on trips to offer tracts in major cities. While prosecutors have been largely quiet about the evidence they plan to offer at trial, Alamo lawyer Danny Davis has said the case includes allegations of Alamo having sex with the girls on church buses.

Monday’s filing is a required form to provide defense lawyers notice that prosecutors intend to use evidence gathered about crimes outside of an indictment at trial. U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes, who will preside over Alamo’s May 18 trial, still could block prosecutors from offering the testimony.

It remains unclear why prosecutors haven’t added additional charges to Alamo’s indictment over the women’s testimony. Interim U.S. Attorney Debbie Groom declined to say whether the women’s stories fell outside of the statute of limitations for bringing charges against the evangelist. Typically, federal prosecutors have a five-year window to file criminal charges after a crime has been committed.

Steve Frazier, a spokesman for the FBI’s Little Rock field office, declined to say if agents had investigated Alamo over matters outside the current indictment. Arkansas State Police still have an open investigation focused on Alamo.

The 10-count indictment against Alamo accuses him of sexually abusing five girls on separate occasions beginning in 1994, including a period when he was serving time at a halfway house in Texarkana. Alamo was arrested in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Sept. 25, five days after a raid on his church’s compound in southwestern Arkansas.

Alamo has been a controversial and flamboyant figure since establishing his ministries in Arkansas, with former President Clinton once likening him to “Roy Orbison on speed.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, describes the ministry as a cult that rails against homosexuals, Roman Catholics and the government.

Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 and served four years in prison after the IRS said he owed the government $7.9 million. Prosecutors in that case argued that Alamo was a flight risk and a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in his congregation.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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