November 13, 2009

Alamo gets maximum 175-year sentence

TEXARKANA — Evangelist Tony Alamo was sentenced today to the maximum 175 years in prison for taking underage girls in his church across state lines for sex and making them his “brides.”

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes is tantamount to a life prison term. Alamo, 75, would have to serve approximately 85 percent of his term before becoming eligible for release from prison.

Alamo, the leader of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, has been in federal custody since he was arrested shortly after a raid on his compound south of Texarkana last year.
As he was led out of the courthouse and back to jail late this morning, Alamo — noticeably thinner and less animated than he was during his trial — said to reporters that he was falsely accused.

A group of residents from Fouke, where Alamo’s church is located, along with a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse, cheered at news of the sentence.

The sentence came after the judge heard testimony from three young women who said they were turned over to Alamo for sex when they were children. They told of the harm Alamo did to them and their families. Prosecutors said Alamo’s victims were as young as 8.

Also testifying were a member of Alamo’s church and a doctor who talked about Alamo’s health condition. The defense had asked for leniency because of Alamo’s declining health.

Barnes said Alamo used his role as pastor and father figure to control the young girls.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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