11/18/08 – KARK VIDEO Report: More Alamo Properties Raided Tuesday

Arkansas Matters
November 18, 2008
Reported by: KARK 4 News

More Alamo Properties Raided Tuesday

The investigation into Evangelist Tony Alamo led to more raids on property owned by his ministry organization today in Miller and Sebastian counties.

The raids followed the execution of court orders on 14 properties in Sebastian County, and another seven in Miller County.

Arkansas State Police were assisting officials with the Department of Human Services who were looking for children to remove from those locations. While none were taken from properties in Sebastian County, 21 children have been removed from properties in Miller County in a raid that is still underway.

Alamo remains jailed on charges that were filed against him in September after six girls were removed from his ministry compound in Fouke. He is accused of transporting them across state lines for sexual purposes. His trial is set for February.

The raids come amid final custody hearings that started Monday for the six girls. The Arkansas Department of Human Services deemed the children in immediate danger, after a raid on the compound. Two hearings began Monday, but Judge Jim Hudson will make a decision today.

Hudson said he has to listen to all concerned sides before deciding the fate of the girls. More than 30 witnesses testified at the Texarkana Juvenile Courtroom Monday. “The room was full. I couldn’t really tell how many witnesses came.” Court Appointed Special Advocate Danita Abernathy said.

Alamo church members would not talk to media outside the courthouse. But inside, testimony dragged on for hours behind closed doors. “Some of which will testified by appearance, video depositions, but many of them were live,” Hudson said.

Authorities took the girls from Tony Alamo’s church in September. Alamo is in jail, awaiting trial for making children have sex. “Our role is to be available for the children, to support them,” Abernathy said. For two months the state has cared for the girls.

Tuesday, the judge must decide if it’s safe for them to go home. “The girls are nervous, as we all are, and anxious in a situation like this, but they are doing well,” Abernathy said. Talk of what’s best for the children has spread across Fouke. “as most of the people in Fouke, we’re just concerned about the kids.” Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis said. Judges will decide four custody cases for the girls taken from the church. Two cases will finish tomorrow.

Another Texarkana judge, Judge Joe Griffin, will hear the other two later this week. If the girls stay in state custody, judges will revisit the cases next year to make a permanent custody decisions.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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