11/26/08 – 8 New Federal Sex Charges Filed; Alamo may ask for more time to prepare for trial

November 26, 2008

Attorney: 8 new charges filed against jailed Alamo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Jailed evangelist Tony Alamo faces eight new federal charges after his arrest for allegedly taking children across state lines for sex, his lawyer said Tuesday.

John Wesley Hall Jr. said the new charges are similar to those Alamo already faces — violations of the Mann Act, a federal law that bans carrying women or girls across state lines for “prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.” Hall said the sealed indictment includes the original two charges.

It’s “the same kind of stuff, just more of it,” Hall said.

Debbie Groom, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Arkansas, declined to specify the charges included in the new indictment. She said a federal judge would have to decide on whether to unseal the charges for public viewing.

The charges, filed Monday, come after Alamo testified in a closed court hearing that he “spiritually” married and divorced multiple women who continued to live with him, Hall said.

Alamo never married the women in a legal sense, Hall said, though Alamo said he provided what “some people would have to do in the form of alimony in the traditional divorce.”

“He said he doesn’t take up with more than one woman at a time, and I said, ‘That’s not polygamy,'” the lawyer said. “When he moves onto another female, he stops having sex with the prior ones, but he feels obligated through the Bible to support them.”

Alamo also acknowledged he knew that several members of his congregation were “spanked” over disciplinary matters, Hall said.

State child welfare officials have seized 26 children associated with the Alamo ministries since September, citing stories of alleged beatings and sexual abuse.

In a court filing, Alamo pleaded not guilty to the new charges and waived an arraignment hearing.

Arkansas State Police and federal agents raided Alamo’s compound at Fouke on Sept. 20, searching for evidence that children there had been molested or filmed having sex. Five days later, FBI agents arrested the evangelist as he left a hotel in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Since establishing his ministries in Arkansas, Alamo has been a controversial and flamboyant figure, with former President Clinton once likening him to “Roy Orbison on speed.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, describes the ministry as a cult that rails against homosexuals, Roman Catholics and the government.

Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 and served four years in prison after the Internal Revenue Service said he owed the government $7.9 million. Prosecutors in that case argued that Alamo was a flight risk and a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in his congregation.

Alamo faces trial in February on the 10 federal charges. Hall said he may ask a judge for more time to prepare a defense because of the new charges.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Comments are closed.