9/20/09 – TG: Tony Alamo case – Timeline of events

Texarkana Gazette
September 20, 2009

Tony Alamo case

Timeline of events from Alamo’s arrest to the current trial

Here is a list of major events since the FBI and Arkansas State Police raided the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries Fouke properties one year ago today.

n Sept. 20, 2008: Roughly 100 members of the FBI and Arkansas State Police descend on the Alamo Ministries properties in Fouke, Ark., on Tony Alamo’s 74th birthday. A search warrant indicates the lawmen are looking for child pornography. Six girls ages 10 to 17 are taken into state custody by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The raid was initially scheduled for Oct. 2008, but an e-mail accidentally sent to a long list of media outlets the day before, prompts an expedited action.

n Sept. 25, 2008: Alamo is arrested in Flagstaff, Ariz., at the Little America Motel. The federal warrant alleges violations of the Mann Act, a law making it a crime to bring young girls across state lines for sex.

n Oct. 1, 2008: Tony Alamo, born Bernie LaZar Hoffman, is formally indicted by a grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas, Texarkana Division.

n Oct. 16, 2008: Authorities in Fort Smith, Ark., issue a warrant for John Kolbek, an Alamo associate who allegedly beat followers, young and old, with a wooden paddle for not following Alamo’s rules. Federal officials later issue a warrant for Kolbek’s arrest for unlawful flight from prosecution. He remains a fugitive.

n Oct. 17, 2008: Alamo pleads not guilty at a hearing in federal court.

n Oct. 22, 2008: Alamo is denied bail on the grounds he presents a flight risk and a danger to the community.

The FBI executes a second search warrant. Three large carpet squares are removed from the gym, presumably for DNA testing.

n Nov. 17, 2008: Removal orders for more than 125 children of Alamo loyalists are signed by circuit judges in Miller and Sebastian counties, where Texarkana, Ark., and Fort Smith, Ark., are located.

n Nov. 18, 2008: Seventeen children are plucked from SUVs minutes from the Texas state line. Three boys who’d just been sworn to testify on behalf of church members are taken by DHS at custody hearings concerning the girls removed in September. No children were found at the Fort Smith outpost. The whereabouts of more than 90 children remain unknown.

n Nov. 24, 2008: A superseding indictment brings the number of counts Alamo faces from two to 10. The five Jane Does named as victims were abused from 1994 to 2005. The youngest victim was 8 when Alamo first violated her.

n Nov. 26, 2008: Texarkana lawyer David Carter files a civil lawsuit seeking damages from Alamo and Kolbek on behalf of two 18-year-old former members.

n April 9, 2009: Tony Alamo Christian Ministries and two fathers with kids in foster care file a civil lawsuit naming DHS administrators as defendants. The suit accuses the child welfare agency of using a child abuse investigation as a cover to disband the ministry and of violating parents’ civil rights.

n June 20, 2009: A couple with four kids in foster care has their fifth child. The baby has not been taken into custody though the couple’s other five children remain in state care.

n July 9, 2009: An Alamo loyalist pleads no contest in California to 20-year-old child abuse charges concerning the public beating of a 12-year-old on ministry property in that state. Warrants remain active for two others.

n July 24, 2009: Alamo is found guilty by a jury of 12 Arkansans on all 10 counts after nearly two weeks of trial.

n Aug. 24, 2009: An associate of Tony Alamo ministries, Jonathan Patrick Curry, is sentenced to two years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervision for failing to register as a sex offender. Curry was arrested on ministry property in Fort Smith. He was convicted of attempted lewdness with a minor in Nevada in 2002.

n Sept. 14, 2009: U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes issues an order splitting the civil suit against Alamo and John Kolbek into two separate cases because of Kolbek’s fugitive status. In the order, Barnes said Kolbek’s silence amounts to an admission of guilt concerning allegations he beat followers at Alamo’s bidding.

n Today: Alamo turns 75. He is being held in a downtown Texarkana jail until sentencing.

In The Future:

n Oct. 22, 2009: U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes will conduct a hearing to discuss a default judgment in the civil suit against John Kolbek. His case was severed from Alamo’s because Kolbek is a fugitive. Texarkana attorney David Carter will present estimates of the damages suffered by the two men suing for Barnes’ consideration. Once ordered by the judge, any assets held by Kolbek can be liquidated to satisfy the judgment.

n Oct. 2, 20093: Tony Alamo is scheduled for sentencing before Barnes. He faces up to 10 years on four counts, as many as 15 on three and could receive up to 30 years on three others. If sentenced to the maximum on each count and ordered to serve the sentences consecutively, Alamo could receive 175 years.

n July 19, 2010: Trial date for civil suit filed by two former followers alleging battery, false imprisonment, conspiracy and outrage for Alamo.

n Ongoing: Custody proceedings concerning the children of Alamo loyalists continue.

In: 2009 - (Trial year), Timeline

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