5/12/09 – TG: Tony Alamo Christian Ministries follower [Douglas Christopher] leaves jail

Texarkana Gazette
May 12, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries follower leaves jail

A Tony Alamo Christian Ministries member facing child abuse charges in connection with the alleged beating of a 12-year-old in 1987 was released from a California jail Monday.

Douglas Christopher was set free on a personal recognizance bond by Superior Court Judge Robert Shuit and ordered to return to court later this month.

“We objected. We believe that he’s a flight risk,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison. “Our prosecutor is filing a response to the defense’s motion to dismiss the case.”

Christopher is being represented by California attorney Dmitry Gorin. Calls to Gorin’s office were not returned Monday.

Robison said previously that Gorin has filed a lengthy motion to dismiss in the case, which the two sides will argue at Christopher’s next hearing.

Christopher was allegedly one of three men who held a youth’s limbs as a fourth follower struck him repeatedly with a wooden paddle. The incident allegedly occurred before an audience of church members, including the boy’s mother, as Alamo directed it from a building nearby.

Although the criminal charges against Alamo were eventually dropped, a federal judge in the Western District of Arkansas awarded the boy and his family more than a $1 million for their suffering.

“… Mr. Alamo put on ‘public exhibitions of corporal punishment, in the form of paddling, upon minor children’; and the proof amply showed that Justin Miller, while being restrained by four adult men, was struck vigorously 140 times with a large wooden paddle by a grown man … this punishment was inflicted in a room filled with adults and children and was not only painful (Justin’s buttocks were bleeding) but humiliating in the extreme. One of the adult witnesses, indeed one of the principal participants, was Justin’s mother,” wrote then U.S. District Judge Morris Arnold, who awarded damages to the family.“No feeling person could fail to be moved by the testimony in this case or to be revolted by the cold-blooded and calculated manner in which the punishment of Justin Miller was carried out.”

Christopher, also known as Matthew Rehn, turned himself in on the 21-year-old charges in January. Officials with the Arkansas Department of Human Services encouraged Christopher to do so after finding the old warrant while conducting a home study to determine if children removed from his home in December could be returned.

Christopher’s wife is a mother of six. Three of the children are Christopher’s. The other three were fathered by Anthony Lane, a former follower who searched for 10 years for his children before they were located in Indiana in December and placed in state custody.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.