9/23/08 – KATV VIDEO Report: Former Alamo Church Member, Anna, Speaks Out

September 23, 2008

Former Alamo Church Member Speaks Out

Authorities say as of late Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made following the weekend raid of the Tony Alamo Ministries in Fouke.

On Saturday, the state removed six girls from the Miller County property, following allegations of abuse.

Channel 7 News spoke with a woman on Tuesday who says she was a member of Alamo’s church for 11 years. Anna Pugh believes four of her children–who she has not seen since 2004–are at one of Alamo’s compounds.

(Anna Pugh, Former Church Member)

Pugh says she was just 20 years old when she was introduced to the Tony Alamo Ministries. Within five months of joining the church–which she now considers a cult—-Pugh says she married a man 17 years her senior.

“People out there who don’t understand how someone out there can get pulled into this and be controlled and brainwashed–just answer the question, how did Hitler take over an entire nation? It can be done when you’re not allowed to listen to anything but some man dictate to you what is right and what is wrong 24 hours a day—and they scare you and pump you up and fill you full of fear.”

In 2000 she left the church. When Pugh found out federal and state authorities raided the compound in Fouke this weekend–and removed six girls–she says she felt on overwhelming feeling of hope.

(Pugh) “There’s another part of me that is relieved and hopeful they are going to put a stop to the abuse that is happening in that town that has been going on for years to children–to women especially.”

Pugh described what it was like for her to live in the complex near Alma.

(Pugh) “You’re not allowed to go anywhere, and there are only certain people who are allowed to drive, certain people who can have phones. Everybody is told what they have in their homes. You cannot have phones, TVs, computers–anything to do with the outside world. You are kept very ignorant to what’s going on in the world.”

By speaking out, Pugh hopes she can shed light on what she says has really has been going on. And she’s hopeful she will finally get her children back.

(Pugh) “I would like to see that entire church–if you call it a church, call it what you will–put to an end. I would like to see it stopped.”

If the state seeks custody of the children taken from the Fouke complex, they will have to go before a judge within five days for a probable cause hearing.

In: 2008 - (Trial year), Video Clips

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