9/29/09 – ADG: Alamo group asks judge to stop removal of 3-month-old

Arkansas Democrat Gazette
September 29, 2009

Ministry: Leave boy in home

Alamo group asks judge to stop removal of 3-month-old

The Tony Alamo Christian Ministries wants a federal judge to prevent the Arkansas Department of Human Services from removing a 3-month-old from the boy’s home in the ministry.

In a filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Texarkana, the ministry asked U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes to issue a temporary order to prevent the Human Services Department from removing the son of Carlos and Sophia Parrish from their home in Fouke unless the department submits a detailed report to explain why the child is believed to be in danger. The ministry also asked Barnes to hold a hearing in federal court before the child can be removed.

The request was submitted as part of a lawsuit in federal court in Texarkana that claims the Human Services Department has violated parents’ religious freedoms by removing 36 children, including the Parrishes’ four other children, from their homes in the ministry and placing them in foster care.

The department has said ministry children are endangered by practices that include underage marriages and beatings as punishment. Tony Alamo, the ministry’s 75-year old leader, was convicted in July of taking five underage girls across state lines for sex and will be sentenced next month.

On Sept. 18, the department filed a petition asking Miller County Circuit Judge Joe Griffin to take steps to protect the 3-month-old. The department cited the parents’ failure to comply with Griffin’s orders that they move off church property and find jobs outside the ministry in order to be reunited with their children. Griffin is expected to rule on the petition at a hearing Oct. 27.

In the request Friday for a temporary restraining order against the Human Services Department, the ministry’s attorney, Phillip Kuhn of Lakeland, Fla., said the petition was “a vicious act of sheer retaliation” for an affidavit the Parrishes submitted in support of the federal lawsuit.

Barnes had not ruled on the request for a temporary restraining order Monday.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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