6/2/11 – ADG: Mother testifies son’s paddling did some good ‘It worked,’ Alamo follower says ***COMMENTS***

Arkansas Democrat Gazette
June 2, 2011

Mother testifies son’s paddling did some good ‘It worked,’ Alamo follower says

A woman testified Wednesday that her son getting slapped in the face and struck with a wooden paddle when he was 14 and a member of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries was “the best thing that ever happened to him” and that he later told her he deserved it.

“I just thank the Lord that it happened, because it worked,” Barbara Calagna said.

Calagna was one of several ministry members called to the witness stand during the second day of a trial stemming from a lawsuit that her now 21-year-old son, Seth, and Spencer Ondrisek, 20, filed against the ministry’s imprisoned leader, Tony Alamo.

Seth Calagna and Ondrisek, who were born into the ministry and fled as teenagers, say Alamo ordered them to be severely beaten on multiple occasions by John Kolbeck, whom authorities have described as Alamo’s “enforcer.” Both also say that Alamo verbally abused them and as punishment forced them to fast.

Ministry members admit that the men were “paddled” – a punishment administered to children and adults alike – but contend that the discipline was not excessive and was in accordance with biblical teachings.

Alamo, 76, who is not attending the trial, was convicted in 2009 of taking five underage girls across state lines for sex in violation of the federal Mann Act and was sentenced to 175 years in prison. Kolbeck died of heart failure at a house near Louisa, Ky., in January at age 51.

Seth Calagna and Ondrisek are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Attorneys for both sides expect to give closing arguments today.

Like Ondrisek, who testified Tuesday, Seth Calagna told jurors Wednesday that Kolbeck began each beating by slapping him several times in the face. Ondrisek testified that he was made to bend over while Kolbeck swung the paddle at him baseball-bat style, but Calagna said he was made to lie facedown while Kolbeck stood over him and swung the paddle downward.

During Calagna’s first beating, which he described as “the most painful thing that I have ever experienced,” Calagna said he was struck at least 40 times and threw up afterward.

In preparation for the second beating, which took place when Calagna was 17, Calagna said, he wore multiple pairs of pants to protect himself from the blows. But, he said, Kolbeck noticed the extra layers and pulled down his pants, exposing his underwear, and then administered several more blows.

Calagna said both beatings left his face swollen and his buttocks bleeding and covered with bruises.

His mother, who watched the first beating, contended that he was struck only about 10 times. While the beating did leave him with a bloody nose and swollen face, she said, his buttocks were not bloodied and he never complained about the punishment.

She said her son was beaten because he had been threatening to “murder” another boy, and the paddling stopped him from making the threats.

“I believe that John Kolbeck and Tony Alamo should be hailed as heroes, not demonized,” Barbara Calagna said. “I don’t believe the church should be destroyed because my son got spanked.”

Under questioning by Alamo’s attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock, Seth Calagna acknowledged that after leaving the ministry, he listed drugs, sex and money as interests on his Facebook page and that he had made prank phone calls, possibly using obscenities, to the ministry’s 24-hour prayer and information line.

He said he uses the Facebook page to “say things to shock people just to see what kind of response I would get.” The phone calls were also a way to vent his anger, he said.

In: 2011

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3 Posts

  1. S. Balsley Says:

    The above article says, “Ministry members admit that the men were “paddled”, but contend that the discipline was not excessive and was in accordance with biblical teachings.”
    I have to ask the members what Bible are they reading? Here is what the KJV Bible says:

    Deuteronomy 25
    1) If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

    2) And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.

    3) Forty stripes he may give him, and NOT EXCEED: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

    Barbie Calagna and many of the followers and defenders of Tony Alamo know very well that lots of the foundation children were beaten way above the 40 swat limit. Several of the children (not men) were suspended spread eagle in mid-air and beaten with the “board of education” at Tony Alamo’s command 60, 80, 100, 140 swats…

    This is called “CHILD ABUSE”, there is no other name for what has gone on behind the Alamo Foundation closed doors..

    Where is your natural affection for your children? Even an animal protects her young from danger? Instead of protecting your children, you turn on them and testify against them.. You know very WELL that these testimonies are true.. Stop lying and defending Tony Alamo… He is NEVER going to get out of prison….

    I am so proud of every child that has had the courage to stand up and expose the evil that goes on behind the doors of the Alamo Foundation. It has been a painful journey for these children, and they know once they step forward and expose the truth about what has happened to them then their family and friends will turn on them with lying slander trying to defame them on public forums and on the Alamo website.. These Alamo followers are just like their leader, Tony Alamo… brute beasts!

  2. Connie H Says:

    WOW! I”m shocked that Barbara Calagna is so far gone. Her son was beat and she thinks it did good for him. Even though Tony is in prison for his crimes the members still defend and lie for him. The mind is a funny thing when once its deceived it becomes zombi like and just like in the movies they move and act all alike and are very evil and very dead like.

  3. dillon Says:

    This lady is crazed with some other teaching.This is not the testimonials that are in that heavenly book. It kind of makes me angry that she would testify. I really think that Tony should be in prison for life well he is 76 75. So it probably will be for life for him

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