4/24/14 – TG: Former Alamo followers sue. Twelve say they were abused as children

Texarkana Gazette
April 24, 2014
By: Lynn LaRowe – Texarkana Gazette

Former Alamo followers sue
Twelve say they were abused as children

Twelve former members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries filed a federal lawsuit this week seeking damages for alleged abuses they suffered as children raised in the controversial group.

Two of the 12 plaintiffs are still minors. All were either born or brought into the communal organization by their member parents, states a complaint filed Monday by Little Rock, Ark., lawyers Jonathan Lane and Charles Hancock.

“The plaintiffs were subjected to the following by the individual defendants: brainwashed, imprisoned, forced to work long hours without pay, routinely beaten, starved as punishment for perceived wrongdoing, and subjected to horrible conditions such that they lived in a perpetual state of agony, fear and duress,” the complaint states.

The complaint alleges the defendants violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act by forcing the plaintiffs to labor unpaid under, “threats of serious harm, actual harm, physical restraint and psychological duress and coercion.”

Named as defendants in the suit are Tony Alamo, Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, a number of businesses and organizations run by Alamo Ministries, seven individual members defined as officers of the business and organizational defendants, and “John Does I-XX, shareholders, officers, directors or employees of above named defendants, and any other business associated with above named defendants.”

The suit alleges the female plaintiffs, “…lived in a constant state of fear of rape or forced marriage.”

All of the plaintiffs allege they were tortured and ritualistically beaten.

An African-American plaintiff was allegedly warned she would be killed by local citizens because of her race if she tried to escape the ministry and a male plaintiff was allegedly separated at a young age from his sisters and “allowed absolutely no contact with his mother,” the complaint states.

The group is alleged to have routinely kept the births of children a secret from the outside world to help shield from liability for the abuse and forced labor. The complaint alleges “Alamo and several under his direction” are guilty of “documentary servitude” by preventing children from acquiring birth certificates and social security numbers.

Alamo, 79, whose given name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, is currently serving a 175-year federal prison term for bringing girls he wed as children across state lines for sex.

Damages alleged by the plaintiffs include bodily injury, severe mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, confusion which will continue to interfere with daily living, the ability to earn a living and the enjoyment of life. The complaint seeks compensation for past and future medical expenses, past physical suffering, mental anguish past and future, lost wages past and future, attorney fees and court costs. The plaintiffs are also asking the court to award punitive damages meant to punish each defendant and set an example to others.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas. None of the defendants has filed a response.

In: 2014, Breaking News

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One Post

  1. rich hydell Says:

    I told one of the parents in1996 that alamo was having sex with his daughter.I screamed in fed court. All he could do was call me a homo .he did nothing to stop alamo.

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