8/4/09 – TG: Two members of convicted pedophile Tony Alamo’s group released from jail

Texarkana Gazette
August 4, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Two members in Alamo case released from jail

Two Tony Alamo Christian Ministries members jailed in January for refusing to tell a judge where their missing children and spouses could be found were released Monday from the Miller County jail.

“After six months, I felt justice had been served and the court’s point had been made,” said Circuit Judge Joe Griffin. “I had decided I was not going to keep them in there for an indefinite period of time.”

Don Thorne left custody hearings in cuffs Jan. 13 when he declined to divulge the whereabouts of two of his three children. Bethany Meyers became a detainee when she remained silent regarding the location of three of her six children.

Griffin noted that the juveniles were not kidnapped by “unknown assailants” but rather are assumed to be in hiding with their other parents.

The missing children are named on emergency custody orders signed by Griffin and Sebastian County Circuit Judge Mark Hewett in November 2008. The emergency orders authorized the removal of more than 125 children from Alamo properties.

The orders noted that the children were in danger of being physically and sexually abused and of being medically and educationally neglected.

Since then, only 36 children have been found and placed in foster care by the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

“The court is of the opinion that they need to be relocated and if they’re found, they will still need to be removed,” Griffin said. “In the meantime, several of the parents are accomplishing the goals that have been set out by the court to ensure the welfare of their children and I just felt like it was time to let these two individuals out.”

Griffin said one of the families assigned to his court whose children were removed has been reunited.

“Those parents met the requests that had been set out in the goals for reunification,” Griffin said.

“The court never said they couldn’t go to Tony Alamo’s church, but there had to be some effort made to ensure the welfare of the children. Some of those things were get a job, support your family, put them in a qualified school and protect them from physical and sexual abuse. That’s basically what we asked them to do.”

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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