9/25/08 – KTAL VIDEO Report: Officials say evidence of sexual abuse of children is strong enough to go to court

September 25, 2008
by: Karen Hopkins

Court Hearings Set for Alamo Children

Officials say evidence of sexual abuse of children at an evangelist compound is strong enough to go to court. Court hearings will start Friday for two of the six girls taken from the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Federal agents raided the compound near Texarkana Saturday, with suspicions of child pornography. Alamo denies any wrongdoing. Two girls will have hearings Friday morning before Miller County Judge Jim Hudson. The other four girls will have hearings Monday morning with other Circuit judges, Hudson said. Alamo said the girls should be home, instead of in court. “That’s just bullcrap, that the government is saying about me… bull, bull, bull.” But a spokesperson for the Department of Human Services said after interviewing the children, they are keeping them away from the church for now. “It involves obviously gathering information from external sources, from interviews with the children, interviews collateral witnesses to try to determine if this child is going to be safe,” DHS spokeswoman Julie Munsell said. The DHS said the evidence of abuse at the Alamo Church in Fouke is strong enough to take the case to court. “We’re going to make sure that we have sufficient evidence moving forward before we ever ask for a probable cause hearing,” Munsell said. Tony Alamo said the children should be back at the church. “I want them back with their mothers. They accused me of pornography and manufacturing pornography, and I’m in the gospel field 24 hours a day. I don’t even think of pornography, never did before I was a Christian or after,” Alamo said. Friday and Monday, Miller County Judges will hear all sides. “That’s where the judge decides whether the children should be removed and whether the agency made the right decision,” Munsell said. The court hearings will be closed to the public to protect the identities of the children. “They deserve to live privately and not have all the horrific details of what happened to them out on public display. I think anyone would want that for their child,” Munsell said. Judge Jim Hudson said judges must determine if there is evidence of abuse. Then, judges will decide whether to send the girls home or make other custody arrangements. Alamo said truth lies inside his church doors, doors blocked by security guards. “You know you people get your interviews from the government, and you’re all saying the same thing, which means there is no real true reports,” Alamo said.

In: 2008 - (Trial year), Video Clips

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