7/21/09 – Alamo tells girl from jail: `I’m still in charge’

The Washington Post
July 21, 2009
The Associated Press

Alamo tells girl from jail: `I’m still in charge’

Evangelist Tony Alamo told a girl who questioned one of his orders that he was “still in charge” of his Arkansas religious compound even from a Texas jail cell, according to recorded calls played Tuesday in his sex-crimes trial.

Prosecutors allege that a domineering Alamo took five underage girls across state lines for sex between 1994 and 2005. Defense lawyers say the government targeted Alamo for prosecution because it is anti-Christian. Alamo, who has pleaded not guilty, has also said the Vatican is behind his troubles.

Alamo told a girl to “shut up” when she began to question him, according to the recordings made in Texarkana, Texas, after his arrest following a Sept. 20 raid on his southern Arkansas headquarters.

“Just because I’m in jail, you’ll find out that I’m still in charge,” Alamo said in the recording. “OK, kid? You understand?”

Earlier in the tape, he threatened to kick the girl out of the community if she didn’t obey.

“You either have to do what you’re supposed to do or get out,” Alamo said. When she began to protest, he interrupted her by saying, “Shut up. Shut your face. Clean up your stinking mess.”

Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday after four days of graphic testimony in which five women said they were “married” to Alamo as teens or preteens and were sexually assaulted by him. They said they traveled to other states for sex with him or responded to his call and returned to Arkansas and had sex with him.

As the defense team began presenting its case, Alamo’s legal wife, Sharon Alamo, said his trips around the country were for legitimate church purposes.

Alamo has said the girls, part of his estimated 100-200 followers, were traveling to help spread the ministry’s teachings. His apocalyptic tracts outline his hatred of the Vatican and his feared “one-world government” to his belief in flying saucers.

In other tapes played for jurors, Alamo asked a female follower if she was aware of what he did behind closed doors. On another, he makes light of the charges against him.

“Why the hell would I take her across Texas state lines? If I did it in Arkansas, would that be bad?” he asks as women and girls on the other end of the line giggle.

Alamo told reporters on the way to court Tuesday that he planned to take the stand, despite his lawyers’ advice against it.

“I’m going to testify. I’ve already won. They’ve got nothing,” Alamo said.

His legal team said it could call as many as 10 witnesses, but didn’t expect the minister to testify.

In court Monday, the evangelist blurted out a reference to the raid on the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas. That came as defense lawyers argued whether an FBI agent could say he worried about the safety of Alamo’s followers after the raid on the southern Arkansas compound.

“After Waco, they are looking for safety too, from the FBI,” Alamo interjected from the defense table, referencing the Branch Davidian religious compound that federal agents stormed in 1993. Leader David Koresh and dozens of followers died as the complex burned.

Defense lawyer Phillip Kuhn said after the hearing that U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes heard the comment.

“The judge asked me to ask him to cool it,” Kuhn said.

But as Alamo left the courthouse in prison scrubs Monday, he remained visibly upset.

“The FBI likes to burn Christians,” Alamo told reporters. “I should be putting them on trial, not them on me. They’re guilty.”

Alamo’s followers set up a Twitter account in his name over the weekend and referenced a statement on his Web site deriding the FBI as “demonic.”

Each of the 10 counts in the indictment against Alamo is punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In: 2009 - (Trial year), Tony Alamo - In His Own Words

| 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.