9/22/08 – THV VIDEO Report: Tony Alamo Compound Raided, 6 Children In Protective Custody

September 22, 2008
By: Charles Crowson

Tony Alamo Compound Raided, 6 Children In Protective Custody

Half a dozen children are in state custody following a weekend raid of self proclaimed world pastor Tony Alamo’s Fouke, Arkansas compound. The raid was part of a two-year investigation into child abuse within the church.

A dense fog casts an eerie stillness over the Tony Alamo Christian church in Fouke, Arkansas Sunday. The building’s trademark white cross is barely visible by the morning’s first light.

But on the property, it’s business as usual for the self-proclaimed world pastor’s flock. Security is back on duty, members are seen walking around the 15 acre compound and a child jumps into the arm’s a waiting adult.

It’s a far cry from the scene less than 24 hours ago when almost hundred federal and state agents raided the compound serving search warrants on an investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of children living on church grounds.

It was action many living in the small Miller County town of 800 were happy to see finally happen.

“I’m on the edge of tears, of joy, frustration.” “I am so thankful. I praise God that this has happened,” neighbors said.

Arkansas State Police and the FBI say they’ve been investigating Alamo’s alleged criminal activities for more than two years and upon entering the compound Saturday were concerned about the safety of those inside.

“That’s our main goal of course, we had primary sites we were interested in beyond that we’re trying to make sure all kids are safe on the whole facility,” said Tom Browne with the FBI.

Shortly after agents arrived Saturday Today’s THV joined the Associated Press in a phone interview with Tony Alamo, who was not on the grounds, but in California.

He denied all allegations of abuse within his church. He went on to say that the accusations were a concerted effort by the government and media to ruin his ministry.

“They want to harass me, that’s all. They railroaded me on false IRS charges and they’re doing everything they can to destroy Christian, true Christian churches,” Alamo said.

Sunday Alamo’s members, who asked to remain anonymous, called the raid malicious and illegal.

“They showed no search warrants, they had a bunch of false allegations that we were involved in child pornography,” said one member.

“If anything they scared the kids coming in here with their guns,” said another member.

“Our children are better taken care of and provided for than any children I’ve ever seen,” said another.

Following their interviews agents took six children into temporary state custody.

How long they’ll remain there remains a question, but Bill Sadler with the Arkansas State Police says, if necessary, they will request the children be turned over to the state until their investigation is complete.

Agents say no arrests have been made following Saturday’s action.

The Tony Alamo Christian Church held a service Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Media were not allowed to attend.

In: 2008 - (Trial year), Video Clips

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