7/17/09 – Witness says she hates Alamo, fears for sister

July 17, 2009

Witness says she hates Alamo, fears for sister


A woman who said evangelist Tony Alamo had sexually abused her since she was 8 acknowledged to jurors Friday that she hates him, but said the reason she agreed to testify was because she is afraid he will molest her little sister.

Weeping on the stand, the 18-year-old woman said she contacted the FBI after hearing from others that her sibling’s voice might be on an audiotape distributed to Alamo’s followers. She did not say her sister’s age.

“You hate Tony, don’t you?” defense lawyer Phillip Kuhn said. “You want your revenge, don’t you?”

“Yes,” the woman responded, adding, “I don’t want him to hurt anyone else. I don’t want him to touch my little sister.”

The woman testified Thursday that she was “married” to Alamo at age 8 and that he started having sex with her a year later, when she was in the third grade.

Alamo, 74, is accused of taking young girls across state lines for sex. He has pleaded not guilty and defense lawyers claim the government has targeted him for prosecution because of his religious belief. Alamo, who has said the Vatican is behind his troubles, could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

A series of women have testified since Wednesday that Alamo “married” them while they were underage and that he either raped them or sexually assaulted them. The Associated Press generally does not identify those who say they were victims of sex crimes.

While cross-examining the woman who had been the 8-year-old “bride,” Kuhn had questioned why, if Alamo had taken explicit photos of the girl around the time of their marriage — as she testified a day earlier — no child pornography was found during last year’s raid on Alamo’s compound.

The woman said Alamo was “paranoid” and often sliced up such pictures into tiny pieces.

“We had to vacuum the floor for all the little pieces he missed,” she said.

She also said that her parents, who are key Alamo deputies, interfered with her attempt to enter foster care after she escaped the compound by telling New Mexico authorities she was a liar.

“What are they going to do when my parents say nothing ever happened and I was a liar?” the woman told Kuhn during cross-examination.

As a group, the women who have testified have also told how Alamo ruled the compound, with little going on without his direct approval. The witness Friday said she had been beaten.

“I felt the strength of the board. I felt it on my leg. I didn’t like how it felt,” she said.

The defense team has largely avoid direct confrontations with the witnesses, choosing instead to question whether their stories were rehearsed.

The witness Friday acknowledged that she was in a counseling center that caters to former cult members at the same time as two other prosecution witnesses. She also said the group had dinner with FBI agents recently but were told not to discuss their stories.

She also said that FBI agents and prosecutors had given her gifts since she stepped forward: an $80 Wal-Mart gift card, balloons and flowers on her birthday and a Valentine’s Day-themed blanket when she was having a rough time. The FBI also provided her with a cell phone so they could keep in touch with her.

Friday’s witness also said she was born in a home, not a hospital, and that there was no proof of her birth until after last year’s raid.

“Did you have any record, such as a birth certificate or a Social Security number, to prove that you existed?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner asked.

“No,” she said.

The woman said she hopes to enter college and perhaps one day become a federal agent. At that, Alamo became very animated, sitting upright in his chair and leaning in to talk to his lawyers.

If convicted, Alamo faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the 10 counts against him. He is being held without bond.

In: 2009 - (Trial year), Victim's Testimonies

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