12/4/08 – Affidavit on Alamo tells of sex with girls

December 4, 2008

Affidavit on Alamo tells of sex with girls

Authorities took six additional children connected with Tony Alamo Christian Ministries into protective custody Tuesday in Indiana and transported them to Arkansas on Wednesday, bringing the total number of ministry children in state custody to 32.

The father of three of the children said they were found at a house in Valparaiso, Ind., about 30 miles southeast of Chicago.

Meanwhile, court documents were unsealed late Tuesday in federal court that provide additional details about the allegations that led to the Sept. 20 raid on Alamo’s compound in Fouke. The documents include allegations that Tony Alamo took a 9-year-old girl as his bride, took nude photographs of her and kept a collection of Barbie dolls in his room at his 9, 600-squarefoot, ranch-style house at his compound in Fouke.

Alamo, the ministry’s 74-year-old leader, was arrested in Arizona on Sept. 25. An indictment unsealed this week accuses him of transporting five girls across state lines for illegal sexual activity over the past 14 years.

Alamo’s attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock, said his client denies all of the allegations, and he noted that authorities did not find any child pornography or Barbie dolls at the compound.

In a statement posted on the ministry’s Web site, Alamo said, “This government is the devil, and it is slandering me and the church and has been doing it for the past 44 years, ever since I got saved.” Six girls, ages 10-17, were found at the compound after the September raid and placed in protective custody. An additional 20 children were taken into protective custody last month during a sweep of Alamo-controlled properties in Fouke, Texarkana and Fort Smith.

The six children taken into custody Tuesday are among those who were missed during last month’s sweep, said Julie Munsell, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. One of the court orders authorizing the sweep indicates that 96 or more children have yet to be found.

Munsell said the children taken into custody Tuesday are all siblings. They will be assessed and placed in foster homes, she said. A court hearing will be held to determine whether the children should stay in foster care, she said.

Anthony Lane of Slidell, La., a 34-year-old former ministry member who owns a roofing business in Texarkana, is the father of three of the children — a boy and two girls. He said he had been looking for the children since he was kicked out of one of the church’s duplexes in Moffett, Okla., 10 years ago.

About a week ago, Lane said, his attorney, Joel W. Price of Fort Smith, got a call from another attorney with information about the children’s whereabouts. The next day, he said, he got an email from someone who wanted to remain anonymous that provided the same information.

Lane said he passed along the information to the FBI. On Monday night, he said, an FBI agent told him that authorities had located the children and were working to gain authorization from a judge in Indiana to take them into custody.

“He told me everything is set in motion,” Lane said. “All they were waiting on was for the judge in Indiana to give them authorization.” On Tuesday, Lane said, he waited all day for the agent to call again. The call came about 4 p.m.

“He told me, ‘I’ve got good news for you, ’” Lane said.

FBI spokesman Steve Frazier said he didn’t have any information about the children.

Lane said a hearing has been set in Sebastian County Circuit Court on whether the children should stay in foster care pending further court proceedings.

In addition to his children, Lane said, those taken into custody include two girls and a boy — his ex-wife’s children with her current husband.

The last time Lane saw his ex-wife, he said, she was pregnant with their youngest son, whom Lane has seen only in photographs. He said he’s hoping to win custody of the three children — a 9-year-old boy and two girls ages 10 and 13.

“I’m just thrilled,” Lane said. “I’m so grateful that my children are safe.” FBI special agent Randall Harris has testified that, in the months leading up to the September raid, he spoke with three former church members, as well as a confidential informant, who shared stories of abuse within the compound in Fouke.

According to Harris’ affidavit unsealed Tuesday, one former member said she was 8 years old and living in Alamo’s house in Fouke when he called her into his bedroom and told her to lie on his bed. The girl said Alamo laid down beside her and put his hand down her pants and asked her if she had a boyfriend or liked anyone.

On May 17, 2000, she said, she and Alamo exchanged wedding vows. She was 9 and he was 65. Soon afterward, the girl said, Alamo once again fondled her and put his hand down her pants.

“Alamo told her that he would not hurt her and that he was ‘ trying to not make her a virgin any longer, ’” Harris wrote.

Within a few months, the girl said, Alamo had sex with her. From the time she was 9 until she was 12, the girl said, Alamo took photographs of her in “various states of dress.” Some of those photos were “close-ups of her genitalia with her legs spread,” the affidavit says. The girl also said Alamo had her watch pornographic movies with him, saying he wanted her to learn how to perform oral sex.

Another girl told Harris that she moved into Alamo’s house after she was “married” to him on March 27, 2003, when she was 11. She said Alamo touched her sexually, forced her to have intercourse with him and made her perform oral sex. She said Alamo wanted to take nude photographs of her, but she wouldn’t let him.

In January or February of 2006, the girl said, Alamo had sex with her on a bus during a trip from Arkansas to California. At a motel in California, the girl said, Alamo summoned her to his room for “massage duty,” then had sex with her that night.

A third girl said she was taking a shower in Alamo’s house in August 2007 when he turned off the light, got into the shower with her, put his hand over her mouth, and touched her breast and genitals. She was 12, she said. It wasn’t clear whether she is the same girl who gave a similar account as a witness in a hearing on the custody status of the six girls taken from the compound during the September raid.

The confidential informant told Harris that Alamo was living with about eight girls, all younger than 18, and that she had seen him go into his bedroom with them, sometimes with more than one at a time. She told Harris that Alamo has told young girls that he has candy bars in his bedroom. She also said he has a Barbie doll collection in his room.

Harris has testified that during the raid authorities found two Polaroid cameras but no pornography.

Munsell said the Human Services Department is working with officials in other states as it continues to look for other children missed during last month’s sweep. On Wednesday morning, social workers with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services went to the ministry’s compound in Saugus, Calif., but did not find any children, said Louise Grasmehr, a department spokesman.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

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