1/8/14 – Times Record: Alamo Ministries Member Gets Life Sentence on Child Sex Charge

Times Record Online Edition
January 9, 2014
By Jeff Arnold
Times Record •

Alamo Ministries Member Gets Life Sentence on Child Sex Charge

A member of Tony Alamo Ministries was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by a U.S. District Court judge who called his actions “the most reprehensible conduct I’ve seen in my tenure on the bench.”

Douglas Christopher, 60, of Valparaiso, Ind., pleaded guilty in August to transporting his then-minor stepdaughter across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. In exchange for his plea, the government dismissed four additional counts.

Christopher seemed uninterested in victim-impact statements read in court Thursday by his stepdaughter, 18-year-old Ashley Lane, and his sister, Karen Grater. He never looked at them as they read their statements; instead, he spoke to his attorney, Federal Public Defender James Pierce.

“When I was younger, I thought what you did was OK. I thought what you were doing to me was OK because you were my daddy and you cared about me. All my life as a child I grew up looking up to you and I loved you to death. Now when I look back, I realize that all you ever did was hurt me, not only physically but mentally as well,” Lane said. “I want you to pay for all the pain you have put me and my family through.”

The Times Record generally does not identify victims of sexual crimes; Lane agreed to make her identity public.

Lane said although Christopher might say his actions were for religious reasons, she doesn’t know of any god who would give a rapist the right to hurt someone in the way he hurt her.

“I’ve gone to therapist after therapist to try and cope with the mental damage, but it will always be there. I know it will fade over time, but it’s always going to be there. Even now that you are gone, certain smells and touches bring back the terrible memories of what you did to me,” Lane said.

Between 2003 and 2008, Christopher lived in Oklahoma and worked as a night watchman at Alamo properties in Fort Smith. During that time, Christopher took Lane from Oklahoma to the Alamo properties in Fort Smith where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in a van, according to the plea agreement.

Grater, Christopher’s only sibling, reported the activity to Fort Smith police when Christopher was arrested in Valparaiso in May 2011 for sexually abusing another minor, and Lane confided in her about the abuse she suffered at Christopher’s hands.

“To say I’m disappointed would be a gross understatement. My heart is broken and I cannot fathom what brought you to commit such heinous and immoral acts. This is not the brother I grew up with,” Grater told the court.

Grater said her brother became estranged from the family when he joined Alamo’s church and reached the point he was “virtually unable” to have a conversation that wasn’t simply a recitation of Alamo’s views.

In July 2009, a federal jury in Texarkana, Ark., found evangelist Tony Alamo guilty on 10 counts of transporting minor females in interstate commerce for the purpose of criminal sexual activity. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison.

When Christopher was arrested in May 2011, Grater said she was sick to her stomach, angry, horrified. She said for the first time since their mother died, she was thankful that that she wasn’t around to see what her brother had done.

“The heartbreak would have pushed her fragile health over the edge and mentally torture her,” said Grater.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner told Holmes that a life sentence was appropriate, arguing that age is no deterrent to Christopher’s predatory mindset. “He is very disturbed,” she said.

If Christopher was sentenced to 20 years, Jenner said, she had no doubt that after he was released he would be in court again for victimizing another child.

Pierce argued that based on life expectancy, a 20-year sentence would be a potential life sentence, and it seemed almost inhumane to sentence someone to life in prison without their taking a life.

He asked the judge to sentence Christopher to the mandatory minimum.

But after reading the pre-sentence report that included details of Christopher’s crime, Holmes said, he had no reservations about sentencing him to life — the first life sentence Holmes has imposed.

“I think his conduct was as bad or worse than an offense where a life was taken,” said Holmes.

Holmes said he agreed with Jenner that Christopher most likely can’t be rehabilitated, and the public needs to be protected from him.

After Holmes imposed the sentence, Lane said it gives her some relief, and Grater added that they now no longer have to look over their shoulder.

When asked if she struggled with contacting Fort Smith police about Christopher, Grater said no because it wasn’t about her brother, it was about the children.

“She was by my side the entire time,” Lane said.

Christopher was charged with one count of child molestation in Porter County (Ind.) Superior Court in May 2011 and pleaded guilty in March 2013. He was sentenced to time served, 680 days, although a judge ordered he remain behind bars until being transferred to Fort Smith to face the federal charges, according to the Northwest Times of Indiana.

The victim in that case was present in court Thursday and given the opportunity to read a victim-impact statement, but she became overwhelmed and was unable to read it when she reached the podium.

Holmes allowed Lane to read the statement for her.

The statement, in part, read: “No one should not be able to sleep at night because they’re terrified. I hate my life, he (Christopher) has ruined it. I hope his life is ruined too, and I wish he could feel just as much hurt as I do.”
– See more at:

In: 2014, Breaking News

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.