8/14/2013 – TG: Former Tony Alamo Follower to enter guilty plea in sex abuse case

Texarkana Gazette
August 14, 2013
By: Lynn LaRowe Best – Texarkana Gazette

Man to enter guilty plea in sex abuse case

A former Tony Alamo follower is scheduled to enter a guilty plea to child sex abuse charges this morning in a federal courtroom in Fort Smith, Ark.

Douglas Christopher, 59, is charged in a five-count indictment with bringing a girl across state lines for sex.

The alleged victim is the daughter of a woman with whom Christopher lived as husband and wife while a member of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.

The indictment accuses Christopher of taking the girl from Oklahoma to Arkansas with the intent of engaging in sexual activity, which constitutes rape under Arkansas law, in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The transport of a minor across state lines for sex is a violation of federal law.

Children with whom Christopher had been living as father were seized by child welfare officials in Indiana in December 2008.

The children were among more than 100 listed on removal orders permitting child welfare authorities in Arkansas to take children deemed at risk because of their parents’ affiliations with Alamo.

Before the removal orders could be executed on communal ministry properties in Fouke, Ark., and Fort Smith in November 2008, many of the parents fled with the children.

Christopher was among them, according to records.

The removal orders for all the children came a couple of months after the FBI and Arkansas State Police raided Alamo’s Fouke compound.

Six girls were taken by child welfare officials during the raid.

Alamo was arrested on federal child sex abuse charges within the week.

When child welfare officials in Indiana took a look at Christopher, an old warrant connected to an Alamo child abuse case in California surfaced.

Christopher also helped hold down 12-year-old Justin Miller as he was publicly beaten before an assembly of Alamo loyalists in 1988 on ministry properties near the Saugus community of Santa Clarita, Calif., according to court documents.

Christopher, also known as Matthew Allen Rehn, received three years’ probation and a 164-day jail sentence for the child abuse charge, according to an interview with a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in July 2009.

Christopher was arrested March 15 in the Northern District of Indiana and appeared before a federal judge there the same day. The Indiana federal judge gave orders for Christopher to be transferred to Arkansas for prosecution.

Christopher appeared before U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for arraignment April 22. An Aug. 1 docket entry in Christopher’s case indicates his jury trial has been canceled. Christopher is scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. today for a change of plea hearing before U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes in the Fort Smith division of the Western District of Arkansas. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner is handling Christopher’s case for the government.

Jenner was the lead attorney in the criminal case, which ended with a 175-year federal prison term for Alamo in 2009. Alamo was found guilty by a jury in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas of bringing five women he wed as children across state lines for sex.

In: 2013, Breaking News

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