12/3/08 – Number of Federal Sex Charges Against Alamo Grows By Eight

December 3, 2008

Number of sex charges against Alamo grows by eight

An indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses evangelist Tony Alamo of eight more counts of transporting underage girls across state lines for sexual purposes over the past 14 years, including at least one violation that occurred while Alamo was completing a prison sentence at a halfway house in Texarkana.

The original indictment against the 74-year-old leader of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, a multistate ministry with headquarters in southwest Arkansas, accused him of transporting a girl across state lines in 2004 and 2005. The new charges, contained in a superseding indictment handed up by a grand jury Nov. 19, add eight counts involving four more girls from 1994 through 2005.

A court clerk entered a note in the court record last week disclosing that the new indictment had been handed up, but it remained under seal until Tuesday, when U. S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant entered an order accepting Alamo’s plea of innocent to the charges. Alamo entered the plea through his attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock, in a court filing last week.

On Tuesday, Hall said the charges are “more of the same stuff, and we’ll defend it the same way.” “It’s all just the same kind of stuff put out by the anti-Alamo groups,” Hall said.

Debbie Groom, a spokesman for U. S. Attorney Bob Balfe of the Western District of Arkansas, declined to comment on the added charges.

Alamo, who is being held in the jail annex of the Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana, Texas, was arrested in Arizona on Sept. 25, five days after federal and state authorities raided his compound in Fouke and took six girls into protective custody. Those girls are now in foster care, and none of them are alleged to have been sexually abused. Authorities took 20 other children into protective custody Nov. 18 during a sweep of Alamo-controlled properties in Fouke, Texarkana and Fort Smith.

Both the original indictment, handed down Oct. 1, and the superseding indictment list the alleged victims as Jane Does and say only that they were younger than 18 when the offenses occurred.

Hall has said the charges in the original indictment accuse Alamo of having sex with a girl during a trip from Arkansas to California in 2004, when she was 13, and during a trip from California to Arkansas in 2005, when she was 14. He said authorities haven’t provided him any information on the new charges except for the indictment itself.

The most recent of the added offenses is alleged to have occurred between July 2005 and Sept. 21, 2005. The indictment says Alamo took a girl, identified as Jane Doe No. 5, across state lines to be the victim of first-degree sexual assault as defined in Arkansas law.

Arkansas Code 5-14-124 defines the offense to include a person in a position of trust or authority having sex or “deviate sexual activity” with someone younger than 18.

Two other counts accuse Alamo of transporting a girl identified as Jane Doe No. 2 across state lines in 2000 and 2001 with the intent that she be raped.

Arkansas Code 5-14-103 defines that offense as having sex or “deviate sexual activity” with someone by forcible compulsion or with someone who is physically helpless, mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or under age 14.

The earliest offenses, involving “Jane Doe No. 4,” are alleged to have happened while Alamo in 1994 was awaiting trial on charges that he understated his income to the Internal Revenue Service in 1985 and failed to file tax returns from 1986-88.

The three counts involving that girl accuse Alamo of transporting her across state lines with the intent that she become the victim of third-degree carnal abuse. The offense, which was eliminated under a revision of Arkansas’ sex offense statutes in 2001, is defined as someone 20 or older having sex or deviate sexual activity with someone under 16.

Alamo faces the same charge in two counts involving Jane Doe No. 3. One of those offenses is alleged to have occurred in July 1998 while Alamo was completing his sentence on tax evasion charges at the Texarkana halfway house. During that time, authorities have said, Alamo was allowed to work at the ministry in Fouke during the day and return to the halfway house at night.

The other offense involving the girl is alleged to have occurred in January 1999 while Alamo was living at the compound and reporting to a federal probation officer.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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