7/18/09 – Witness: ‘Only thing he used me for was sex’

Texarkana Gazette
July 18, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

‘Only thing he used me for was sex’

The last of five Jane Does named in Tony Alamo’s federal indictment testified Friday that she was chosen at age 11 to marry him because Alamo thought she had the body of a 6-year-old.

Jane Doe No. 1, now 17, testified Alamo made her take a hot bath and listen to another “wife” read Bible scriptures while he touched her.

“The only thing he used me for was sex while I was there,” Jane Doe No. 1 said of her activities during a trip she took with Alamo to California in 2004.

She said she would attempt to make sure she was accompanied by a child she was baby-sitting or carrying a dirty dish towel when she walked past Alamo so that he would be deterred from calling her into his bedroom.

“I was terrified of Tony and I didn’t want to be anywhere near him,” Jane Doe No. 1 told jurors.

Alamo, whose given name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, is accused of bringing the five Jane Does across state lines for sex in violation of federal law. Alamo’s trial began Monday and isn’t expected to end until late next week. If found guilty, the 74-year-old could spend the rest of his life in a federal prison.

But Alamo didn’t seem terribly worried Friday afternoon as he slept, head back and mouth agape, during portions of Jane Doe No. 1’s testimony.

Before the petite teen took the stand, defense attorney Phillip Kuhn of Florida cross-examined another alleged “wife”—Jane Doe No. 2. She testified Thursday about her wedding to Alamo at the age of 8.

Kuhn read a passage from her diary in open court.

“These people are hypocrites and I despise them all,” he read aloud.

Jane Doe No. 2 sobbed as she testified.

“I despised him for what he did to me, and what he did to others. He hurt me so much … ,” she testified.

“And do you despise him now?” Kuhn asked.

“Yes, I do,” Jane Doe No. 2 replied.

She also testified about pornographic Polaroid photos listed on a search warrant that were not found during a raid of the ministry’s Fouke properties when it was searched Sept. 20, 2008.

Jane Doe No. 2 said Alamo’s “paranoia” about government intervention often led him to destroy the images of young girls he used his “seeing machine” to view. He also used the equipment to enlarge Bible text because of his waning eyesight, Jane Doe No. 2 testified.

He would cut the pictures into confetti and put the scraps in the trash, she said.

Any of the “itty bitty pieces” that were missed were vacuumed away, Jane Doe No. 2 said.

“I saw mine and one other girl’s,” she said of the Polaroid photos.

One of the Jane Does to testify this week is the daughter of John Kolbek, a fugitive who is wanted for battery and unlawful flight from prosecution. Kolbek is accused of being an enforcer who beat children and adults in the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries at Alamo’s bidding.

Witnesses said they were taught that to get to heaven, one had to remain in Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.

Kolbek’s daughter said she feared telling her father or her mother about the sexual abuse she allegedly suffered because of her parents’ loyalty to Alamo.

“I didn’t want to get hit. I’d felt the strength of that board. I’d felt it on my legs,” she said. “I didn’t know if he’d run to Tony and tell him or not.”

“To this day, have your parents chosen Tony Alamo over you?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner asked Kolbek’s daughter.

“Yes. They have,” the alleged victim said with emotion.

She also said she was reluctant to contact police because she feared her family might suffer the consequences.

All of the witnesses who testified said they’d been taught to lie if they were ever questioned by law enforcement or outsiders.

“He would have Sally and Linda question us about what we would do if the government came in here,” one of the Jane Does said. “And if we didn’t pass, we got sent to the green house, the house of scorn.”

The government’s witnesses also said the world view Alamo preached contributed to their silence and unwillingness to leave the ministry.

“I chose not to leave because I didn’t want to burn in hell,” said Jesseca Cooper. She said she is the daughter of Tommy Scarcello and was raised in the ministry.

“There was a lot of hell preached,” Cooper said.

Scarcello solicited donations and is responsible for bringing in a significant amount of church revenue, Cooper said.

Cooper said she worked in one of the church’s offices in Moffett, Oklahoma. Followers who worked outside the church would bring their pay to her and she would turn it over to Alamo after buying items approved for purchase from the member “finance list,” Cooper testified.

Cooper said that when she and her husband left the church with their seven children, Alamo didn’t want to give them money for a bus ride.

“He wouldn’t until my husband threatened to call the media and the police,” Cooper said. “We had seven kids and he wanted us to walk out of there without a penny.”

“So you basically extorted money from the church,” Kuhn asked her on cross examination.

“Absolutely not. We worked our tails off for that ministry,” Cooper said. “We lived just above poverty level.”

Cooper said she’d have been well paid for her labor if she hadn’t been a “volunteer.” She said Alamo turned her down when she asked for a house larger than the 900 square foot duplex she, her husband and seven children shared in Moffett.

Cooper also spoke of seeing Jane Doe No. 2 when she was about 9, not long after she’d moved into Alamo’s Fouke residence.

“She just seemed so sad, so distant,” Cooper said. “She said she didn’t want to go back.”

Gerard and Sally Demoulin walk toward the courthouse in downtown Texarkana Friday morning. Jane Doe No. 2 testified Sally Demoulin would help prepare Tony Alamo’s underage wives to lie if they were ever questioned by authorities.

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

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