12/3/08 – Judge Unseals Alamo Court Documents

Texarkana Gazette
December 3, 2008
By Lynn LaRowe

Judge Unseals Alamo Papers

Federal court documents unsealed Tuesday in evangelist Tony Alamo’s criminal case allege his sexual misconduct with girls as young as 8.

Five alleged victims are described in court documents that accuse Alamo, whose real name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, of violating a federal law that makes it a crime to bring a minor across state lines for sex.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant unsealed a “superseding indictment” and six other previously sealed documents Monday.

“Juvenile #1 told me that on May 17, 2000, when she was only about nine years old, she and Alamo exchanged wedding vows,” according to a search warrant affidavit. The document describes inappropriate touching of “juvenile #1” in Fouke, Ark., by Alamo that began when she was only 8. After their “wedding” when she was 9, Alamo allegedly engaged in conduct with the girl that would constitute rape under Arkansas law. Juvenile #1 is now 17, according to the documents.

“Juvenile #2 was only 11 years old on March 27, 2003, when she was ‘married’ to Alamo,” the affidavit said. In either January or February of 2006,”juvenile #2″ was allegedly taken on a trip with Alamo from Fouke to California, according to the affidavit. “Juvenile #2 stated that while en route to California, Alamo had sexual intercourse with her while on the bus,” documents said.”One night Alamo called juvenile #2 into his room at the motel (in California) for ‘massage duty’ and … Alamo had sexual intercourse with her.”

The third juvenile mentioned in the affidavit alleges sexual abuse by Alamo at the age of 12. A confidential source is mentioned in the search warrant affidavit that enabled members of the FBI to search Alamo’s Fouke, Ark., properties Sept. 20. The source told authorities Alamo keeps candy and Barbies in his bedroom. However, a search warrant return left at the compound by FBI agents and Arkansas State Police after the raid doesn’t list Barbie dolls as seized evidence.
According to the unsealed documents, the confidential source told investigators that some of the young girls living in Alamo’s house, known as the school and ministry, are wearing rings. The source allegedly “overheard conversations among the females in Alamo’s house indicating that if a girl has a ring, she has lost her virginity to Alamo,” the affidavit said.

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Human Services have taken custody of 26 children: Six girls were seized following a raid of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Fouke in September and 20 more children were taken Nov. 18. All are in foster care.

Unsealing of the documents was likely prompted by Bryant’s acceptance of a request from Alamo’s defense attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock, to waive a formal arraignment hearing on the new charges and enter pleas of not guilty.

The most recent indictment, handed down Nov. 19, added eight criminal counts to two he already faced that allege misdeeds by Alamo with young girls dating back to 1994. Hall said the 74-year-old will also waive a detention hearing in light of the fact that Bryant has already denied bond. A risk of flight and a threat to the community were cited by Bryant as warranting Alamo’s continued detention at a hearing in October.

If convicted of the federal charges pending against him, Alamo faces five years to life in a federal prison for each count. He is scheduled for trial in February.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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