11/27/08 – Tony Alamo, 74, Sect Leader, Polygamist And Tax Cheat Is Accused Of Molesting Children

CBS News
November 25, 2008

More Child Sex Charges Against Evangelist
Tony Alamo, 74, Sect Leader, Polygamist And Tax Cheat Is Accused Of Molesting Children

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

John Wesley Hall Jr. told The Associated Press that the charges are similar to those already facing Alamo, 74. Hall declined to specifically name the charges.

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

Prosecutors filed the sealed indictment against Alamo as he testified Monday in a child custody case involving girls seized from the Fouke compound of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. In a court filing, Alamo pleaded not guilty and waived an arraignment hearing the same day, a postscript near his signature noting his “handwriting looks bad because he was handcuffed.”

Typically, sealed indictments are made public after an initial hearing. A detention hearing is set for 10 a.m. Dec. 10 in Texarkana.

Debbie Groom, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Arkansas, declined to comment Tuesday morning on the indictment.

FBI agents arrested Alamo in September, five days after his Fouke compound was searched by federal agents and state police. Alamo has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has repeatedly said he is innocent, placing blame on a federal push to legalize same-sex marriage while outlawing polygamy.

The evangelist, previously convicted of tax evasion, has said “consent is puberty” when it comes to sex with young girls.

Alamo remains in federal custody on the charges.

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

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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