Stepdaughter Testifies About Rape by Alamo

Los Angeles Times
April 28, 1993

Stepdaughter Testifies About Rape by Alamo

“Evangelist Tony Alamo’s stepdaughter testified Tuesday that he raped her, and a former wife said he beat and sexually assaulted her, but a federal magistrate said that was not enough to keep Alamo behind bars pending trial on tax evasion charges and set bail at $50,000.

In an extraordinary hearing that lasted well into the night in U. S. District Court in Los Angeles, Alamo’s stepdaughter made public for the first time her claim that he raped her in 1966, when she was a teen-ager.

The former wife testified that Alamo broke her nose in a fit of rage and routinely beat her and forced her into sex in 1986, when they were married.

Both women also testified that they feared Alamo still.

U. S. Magistrate Kirtland L. Mahlum ruled, however, that there was no evidence linking their unproven allegations to the prospect Alamo might do the women harm if he is released on bail while he awaits trial in Tennessee on the tax charges. Without that evidence, Mahlum said, he had to set bail-although he added that he had serious reservations about doing so.

Alamo’s lawyer, Jeffrey A. Dickstein, said he expects to post the $50,000 bail in a few days, adding, “We’re going to win this tax case.”

Alamo, 58, breathed a sigh of relief at Mahlum’s ruling. Dressed in jail-issue blues, he rarely looked at either woman during their testimony.

Alamo, who for years has had a running battle with the Internal Revenue Service, was indicted April 19 in federal court in Memphis, Tenn., on one felony count of filing a false income tax return for 1985 and on three misdemeanor counts, alleging that he failed to file returns for 1986, 1987 and 1988.

If convicted, Alamo, a former country singer whose real name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, could draw up to eight years behind bars.

Alamo and one of his wives, Susan Alamo, built a large religious following during the 1970s and 1980s. Church-owned businesses, relying on the labor of their followers, produced expensive, rhinestone-studded denim jackets and other clothing.

The IRS stripped the Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation of its tax-exempt status in 1985 and has been trying to collect back taxes ever since.

Alamo was arrested Friday while appearing in San Fernando Superior Court in an unrelated felony child-abuse case in which he had earlier been released on bail. He has been in jail since, and federal prosecutors sought at the hearing Tuesday to keep him behind bars pending the federal trial later this year in Memphis.

Susan Alamo’s daughter, Christhiaon Coie, 42, testified that her stepfather raped her in 1966, when she was 16. She had not seen him since leaving his house in 1971, she said.

In recent years, Coie said, she had been helping the IRS to investigate him and suspected he knew of her help.”

In: 1990-1999, Victim's Testimonies

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