11/15/09 – TG: Residents react to Alamo sentence; ‘Wow. This has been what we’ve been waiting for.’

Texarkana Gazette
November 15, 2009
By: Jim Williamson

Residents react to Alamo sentence;
‘Wow. This has been what we’ve been waiting for.’

FOUKE, Ark.—Heads turned Friday morning when Tony Alamo walked to the U.S. marshal’s car at the federal courthouse in downtown Texarkana after he was sentenced to 175 in federal prison.

But, it was the heads Alamo didn’t turn in Fouke that contributed to his prosecution and conviction on federal charges that started with a 10-count indictment of taking girls across state lines for sexual purposes. Following his sentencing, authorities transported Alamo back to the Bowie County Correctional Facility. During the walk to the car, the eyes of the crowd were on Alamo.

Watching Alamo were Fouke residents who “stood up” to the founder of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Fouke.

“Once the accusations started surfacing, I’m glad responsible people in Fouke wouldn’t turn their heads and look the other way. He (Alamo) knows now we weren’t going to ignore it,” said Rev. Roger Mixon, pastor of the Fouke United Pentecostal Church. “Fouke is a solid, good community and we stick together and I want it to stay that way. We feel if grown folks abuse innocent children and we ignore it, we’re just as guilty as they are. We’re not going after anyone, but we’re not going to ignore abuse if we have knowledge of it.”

Mixon became a victim of Alamo’s wrath in radio broadcasts. Mixon criticized Alamo for closing two Fouke streets without public hearings or permission.

Fouke residents had hear allegations of possible abuse occurring within the Alamo compound and pressed the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to take action.

Mixon’s daughter, Brittani, said the 175-year sentence was “awesome.”

“I watched him get into the car and they drove off with him. I turned around and looked at my dad and said, ‘Wow. This has been what we’ve been waiting for. It’s just been a long time waiting,’” said Brittani. “The girls who were victims really stuck their necks out and they were up front in helping.”

Brittani believes the 175-year sentence is “just” regardless of Alamo being 75 years old.

“I’m glad he got the sentence. It didn’t matter to him how young those girls were that he was hurting. It doesn’t matter how old he is,” Brittani said.

Fouke resident Mary Coker, who is the founder of Partnered Against Cult Activity, was “pleased” with the sentence and the attendance Friday outside the courthouse of the group “Bikers Against Child Abuse.”

“About 40 bikers sat outside the courthouse and waited. They come to things like this to show support for the victims and to reassure the victims no one will harass or bother them,” Coker said.

She is concerned about “other adults” who allowed Alamo to abuse the children.

“If charges are not brought against them, how is this ever going to stop?” said Coker, who is also satisfied with the sentence. “He didn’t show any mercy and he received no mercy.”

Coker said she wants state prosecutors to file charges against the adults in the jurisdictions where the crimes occurred.

“These stories have been told for years and we finally got an FBI agent (Randall Harris) to listen and this is what was accomplished,” Coker said.

Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis praised law enforcement agencies and the people who “stood up” to Alamo.

“I believe the punishment fit the crime for using a church as a store front to perpetuate crimes against kids,” Purvis said.“I hope and pray this sentence will give victims peace and solitude to move on with their lives. I hope they will have a good quality life ahead of them.”

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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