Father Feared For Boys’ Emotional And Physical Safety

Los Angeles Daily News
March 26, 1988



Robert Miller said Friday that he and his brother had sheriff’s deputies remove their sons from a Saugus religious commune because they feared for their emotional and physical safety.

”We had to get them out of there. The Alamo is a crazy religious cult that brainwashes people into believing that everyone not in the group are devils,” said Miller in an interview.

A spokesman for the foundation said no one at the foundation would comment on Miller’s statements.

Members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department fugitive detail took the boys in an early-morning raid at the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation Thursday. The boys, ages 4, 9 and 11, had been living at the commune with their mothers, Susan and Carol Ann Miller.

An Orange County Superior Court granted Miller and his brother, Carey, temporary custody of the boys until a hearing on April 11.

Robert Miller, who had been a member of the foundation for 16 years, said he and his brother have been trying to gain custody of their sons since they fled the foundation last September.

The foundation, which is known for distributing anti-Catholic literature, was created by the husband-and-wife team of Tony and Susan Alamo who spread the Gospel to teen-agers roaming the streets of Hollywood.

The group was evicted from West Hollywood after a public-nuisance conviction and settled on two sites about five miles apart along the Sierra Highway in Saugus. The community quickly grew to several hundred people.

The foundation pulled out of Saugus in the 1970s and set up a new ministry close to the towns of Dyer and Alma, Ark. The foundation returned to Saugus in 1985.

Robert Miller, 34, said he joined the foundation when he was 18.

“I had been out of high school for about 10 months and I was looking for something,” he said. “It was the late 1960s and early 1970s and everyone was looking for something new, that would give them direction in their lives. I found the Alamo and it appealed to me because it was Christian, supposedly.

“When I moved in, I hadn’t planned on staying that long. When you first go in, they brainwash you, telling you constantly that anyone not in Alamo is the devil, and when you’re young you don’t know what to believe.”

Miller said he and his brother spent 10 years believing what the Alamos had told them but then slowly became disillusioned. He said they stayed another six years because they didn’t want to leave their families.

The turning point came last September, he said, when Tony Alamo forced him and his brother to sign over their small trucking business to the foundation.

“He and his cronies dragged us out of bed in the middle of the night and threatened us,” he said. “We realized it was no good to refuse, so we did what he asked and got out of there as quickly as we could. We didn’t abandon our children. But we knew if we stayed our lives would be in danger and that our kids would be safer if we left. Our wives are so under the control of Alamo we knew that they wouldn’t believe us if we told them what happened.”

The brothers settled in Orange and began a court battle to get custody of their children. In the meantime, the foundation declared them divorced from their wives, and their wives remarried Alamo aides.

Miller said his 4- and 9-year-old sons were not living with their mothers at the Saugus commune.

“They told me the were living in a tiny house called the ‘nursery’ with about four or five other children while my wife and the guy she’s living with lived in a camper,” Miller said.

He said his 11-year-old nephew lived with a couple in a bedroom of a house occupied by about nine other people, while his mother and her new ”husband” lived in another house.

“When we first got the boys Thursday morning, they were kind of stiff,” Miller said. “The eldest, my nephew sat in the van while we were at the commune very stiff. He was so ridged, he wouldn’t look at any of us. He just stared straight ahead. But as soon as we drove away from the commune, he started to relax, and as we got farther away, he started laugh and say how glad he as to see us, especially his father. That’s how all the children were.”

In: 1980-1989

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Comments are closed.