9/24/09 – TG: Tony Alamo might be ordered to pay restitution to rape victims

Texarkana Gazette
September 24, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Tony Alamo might be ordered to pay restitution

Tony Alamo could be ordered to pay restitution to the five women who testified at his criminal child sexual abuse trial if the federal judge over the case agrees with the recommendations of a government expert.

Late Tuesday, the government entered notice of its intent to provide the court with a report and testimony of Dr. Sharon W. Cooper.

“Dr. Cooper is expected to opine on the physical, psychiatric and psychological care and costs anticipated for five Jane Does in the … case,” the notice said. “The government seeks to introduce Dr. Cooper’s testimony to assist this Honorable Court in fashioning a Restitution Order …”

Attached to the notice are 62 pages chronicling Cooper’s educational and professional qualifications and accomplishments.

Currently, Cooper is the staff developmental and forensic pediatrician at the Womack Army Medical Center Department of Pediatrics at Fort Bragg, N.C., and the staff forensic pediatrician for the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center Child Medical Examination Program in Fayetteville, N.C.

Cooper’s work history includes a long list of presentations concerning child abuse and authorship of a textbook on child sexual abuse and exploitation, her curriculum vitae said.

In 2005, a federal court in the Eastern District of Kentucky certified Cooper as an expert for the purpose of determining restitution in a case involving a sex offender convicted of multiple counts related to the sexual abuse and exploitation of three girls. One girl lived in John Estep’s home while the other two victims were friends of the first.

The first victim was abused for three years, from about age 5 to age 8, and the others slightly less, court documents said.

Estep’s sentences for sexual abuse and the shipment and production of child pornography totaled 65 years. Following Cooper’s testimony, the court ordered Estep to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars in restitution to the victims and their families as recompense for attorneys’ fees, counseling and medical care, according to court documents.

The five Jane Does who were forced to “marry” Alamo as children, leave their families and reside in his home as wives were abused for varying lengths of time.

Alamo, 75, was convicted July 24 by a jury in the Western District of Arkansas’ Texarkana Division of 10 counts of bringing the girls across state lines for sex. He is set for sentencing Oct. 23 before U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes.

During Alamo’s criminal trial, witnesses testified their pastor doesn’t allow his name to be placed on property deeds or in business ownership documents because of earlier troubles with the IRS. In 1994, Alamo was convicted of tax evasion and served four years in federal prison.

He receives a salary of about $50,000 to satisfy the IRS, testified Alamo devotee Angela Morales at Alamo’s criminal trial in July.

“If restitution is ordered in any case, our office will try to determine what assets can be used to satisfy it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Plumlee, who indicated he couldn’t speak specifically about restitution in Alamo’s case.

“We try to collect restitution ordered for victims whenever possible,” he said.

The average Alamo loyalist does not get paid for work performed as a ministry “volunteer,” witnesses said. Followers are given housing, food and necessities in exchange for their full-time devotion to the ministry.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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