4/7/11 – TG: Former Alamo followers sue security company

Texarkana Gazette
April 7, 2011
By: Lynn LaRowe

Former Alamo followers sue security company

A Wake Village, Texas, security company that once patrolled the grounds and perimeter of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Fouke, Ark., is being sued by former members.

Two years before the FBI and Arkansas State Police raided the Fouke compound in 2008, Robert Gilmore and Associates Security was the subject of controversy. Fouke citizens complained that RGS guards were keeping them from accessing public streets around the ministry.

Now the company is accused of knowing about and failing to report the sexual abuse of underage girls.

“A former security guard … while on duty, witnessed a clergy member receiving oral sex from one of the underage girls living on the Alamo compound. This security guard reported the incident to his supervisor, Robert Gilmore, who told him to ignore it,” said a civil court document filed in federal court Friday.

RGS allegedly operated not only to keep trespassers out but to keep members, including Tony Alamo’s child brides, from leaving.

“Our investigation reveals that the circle of those who ignored child abuse on Alamo properties is wider than we originally thought. The security company Alamo hired to ‘protect’ church properties was, in reality, there to keep outsiders away and to prevent the child victims of sexual and physical abuse from escaping. The abuse was taking place on their watch and right under their noses, yet they didn’t attempt to stop it or report it to authorities,” said Texarkana attorney David Carter, who filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs in August 2010.

Gilmore denies the allegations.

“It’s all bogus,” Gilmore said. “None of that’s true. If we’d seen anything out of the way going on, we’d have reported it.”

Gilmore said his company was hired to prevent trespassing.

“That was our sole responsibility.”

The company was added Friday as a defendant to the civil lawsuit filed by seven former members—Desiree Kolbek, Amy Eddy, Jeanne Orlando, Jamie Rodriguez, Summer Hagan, Nikki Farr and Pebbles “Yvonne” Rodriguez.

Kolbek, Eddy, Orlando, Rodriguez and Hagan testified at Alamo’s criminal trial that they were forced to wed their pastor as children. Farr testified that she escaped while being groomed to become an Alamo wife.

Pebbles Rodriguez remained loyal to Alamo until the summer of 2010. She alleges she wed Alamo at 12.

The defendants include Alamo Ministries, ministry-run businesses and several individuals alleged to be high-ranking members who supposedly knew of Alamo’s misconduct but allowed it to continue.

Alamo, whose given name is Bernie Hoffman, was jailed less than a week after the 2008 raid in Fouke. In July 2009, he was convicted in federal court in Texarkana, Ark., on 10 counts of bringing girls whom he married across state lines for sex.

Alamo is serving a 175-year term at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

The civil suit has been assigned to Judge Paul K. Holmes III in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Texarkana. Trial is scheduled for May 2012.

In: 2011

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