8/25/09 – ADG: Lawyer: Convicted child rapist Tony Alamo’s rights violated

Arkansas Democrat Gazette
August 25, 2009

Lawyer: Alamo’s rights violated

An attorney claimed in a court filing Monday that evangelist Tony Alamo’s religious freedoms were violated when he stood trial on child sexual abuse charges last month.

A jury convicted Alamo, 74, of taking five underage girls across state lines for sex. Witnesses testified that Alamo had taken the girls as his “wives” at ages as young as 8.

Alamo will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes at a separate hearing. A date for the hearing has not been set.

In Monday’s court filing, Alamo attorney Don Ervin of Houston defended Alamo’s belief that the Bible allows girls to be married as soon as they reach puberty. Alamo was afraid to explain his beliefs at the trial because he was afraid he would be misinterpreted, Ervin wrote.

“If he had advanced this religious belief concerning the appropriate marriage age of women during the trial in an attempt to mitigate prejudice and condemnation, he most certainly would have been misunderstood to have been justifying the acts of which he was accused and, in effect, admitting to them even though he denies that they occurred,” Ervin wrote.

“Only a trial by a religious tribunal, without the above referenced prejudices, could conduct a fair trial under these circumstances and avoid the religious infringement by a secular court.”

The filing is labeled as an “addendum” to a request for a new trial, which was filed July 31. Barnes had not ruled on the request Monday.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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