5/21/09 – TG: 9 Alamo Christian Ministries [former] members to testify in July

Texarkana Gazette
May 21, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

9 Alamo Christian Ministries members to testify in July

Nine former members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries will testify in July that a church member facing child abuse charges in California actively evaded authorities, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Douglas Christopher, 55, is accused of helping hold down 12-year-old Justin Miller in 1987 as he was beaten with a long wooden paddle before an audience of church members. Church leader Tony Alamo allegedly directed the punishment from a nearby room.

“His defense attorney is trying to get the case dismissed by saying there hasn’t been a speedy trial,” said Jane Robison of the district attorney’s office.“We’re arguing he was hiding out. We filed a response to the motion to dismiss and have attached affidavits from nine former cult members. They say that he was living on different compounds, using different names and knew he was a fugitive.”

Robison previously said officials believe Christopher’s real name is Matthew Rehn.

Christopher’s defense attorney, Dmitry Gorin of California, filed a lengthy motion to dismiss a couple of months ago alleging a violation of Christopher’s right to a speedy trial.

Robison said Gorin and the district attorney’s office will argue the motion to dismiss at a hearing set for July.

Robison said the former church members who filed the affidavits on behalf of the state will be called to testify in a California courtroom in July.

If the judge denies Christopher’s motion to dismiss, a preliminary hearing will be conducted, Robison said.

At a preliminary hearing, the court will determine if enough probable cause exists to take the case to trial.

Warrants for several others allegedly involved in the beating, including Justin’s mother, are still active, Robison said previously.

Charges against Alamo were dismissed after he was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to serve time in federal prison.

A federal judge in the Western District of Arkansas awarded Justin and his family more than $1 million for their suffering in a civil suit.

Christopher 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.