7/26/09 – Alamo Case Reaches Its Fine Verdict: Bye, Bye, Bernie

Times Record – Ft. Smith, Arkansas
July 26, 2009

Alamo Case Reaches its Fine Verdict


“Bye, bye, Bernie.”

That’s what the crowd that was gathered outside the federal courthouse in Texarkana shouted after hearing that Bernie Lazar Hoffman, aka Tony Alamo, had been convicted on all counts of taking girls across state lines for sex.

As Alamo was taken to a waiting U.S. marshal’s vehicle, he hollered to reporters and said: “I’m just another of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel,” according to an Associated Press story.

Alamo can spare us the agony of listening to his I’m-such-a-martyr speeches. Very simply, he is a power-hungry child abuser. And even if he was the supreme ruler within his compound, some of his supporters on the outside must be wondering after Friday’s verdict if their blind devotion to him was well placed.

Included in the 10-count indictment was a girl who Alamo “married” when she was 8 years old and “soon molested.” Another girl was 11 when Alamo “married” her. And another was 14.

During the trial, the women, now between the ages of 17 and 33, testified that Alamo had “married” them in private ceremonies when they were minors and that he had taken them across state lines and had sex with them. Such a fine prophet he is.

By taking them across state lines, he violated the Mann Act, a morality law that’s almost a century old. In all, Alamo took five underage girls across state lines between 1994 and 2005. Alamo blamed the government and the Vatican for his legal problems. Please!

An Associated Press story leading up to Alamo’s federal trial said he “presides over a multi-million-dollar empire held in his follower’s names. Trucking companies, residential property and a number of questionable ventures fund the work of his 100 to 200 acolytes.”

He gathered all that wealth at the expense of his followers, some of whom worked for $5 a day for 20 hours of work. The Labor Department put a stop to that, forcing him in the late 1980s to pay his employees at least minimum wage.

Then in the 1990s, he served four years in prison for tax evasion, as the IRS took millions of dollars from him for unpaid taxes. At the end of his sentence, he paid $250,000 to cover his fine and penalties.

“How in the world could Mr. Alamo come up with a quarter of a million dollars … when the entire time he hasn’t been able to work, he hasn’t held a job other than what he may have been employed in inside a federal penitentiary?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner asked during a bond hearing for Alamo in October.

That would be because, as Alamo told one of the girls in his compound who questioned his authority, he was still in control of his empire — even from within his prison confines.

His latest and most serious run-in with authorities started in September when state and federal agents raided his compounded near Texarkana because of repeated reports of abuse.

The prosecution showed that Alamo ran his compound with a tight fist — every aspect of a person’s life was dictated by him — even to the point that men were sent away from the facility so that Alamo could have sex with their wives. They believed him to be a prophet who had a direct line to God, and they feared him because he could withhold food from them and beat them and otherwise make their lives miserable.

That was before Friday. After Friday, it may be a little harder for him to control anything of consequence in the outside world because Alamo may not be able to utter the words: “When I get out… .” When he is sentenced in a couple of months or so, Alamo could get 175 years on the 10 charges, and violations of the Mann Act amount to $250,000 each. As federal attorney Jenner said: “We believe he will face the rest of his natural life in prison.”

That is a fine thing to contemplate. Alamo is a menace, and prison is exactly where he deserves to be — make that rot.

In: 2009 - (Trial year), Editorials

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  1. Jael Sprinkle Says:


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