1/6/09 – Hearing set on leak of video in Alamo case

Arkansas Democrat Gazette
January 6, 2009
Associated Press

Hearing set on leak of video in Alamo case

TEXARKANA — A judge has set a hearing for Thursday to address the leak of a confidential videotape of an interview of a girl taken into state custody after a raid on the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in Fouke.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services wants Circuit Judge Jim Hudson to order that the video be removed from an Internet site. The girl’s parents posted the video, which was supposed to be kept confidential.

The video shows an exchange conducted by a forensic interviewer in Texarkana with a 16-year-old girl the day after she was taken into state custody. Six children were taken by the state the day of the Sept. 20 raid and more were seized later.

Alamo has since been charged with taking juveniles across state lines for sex. Alamo has advocated the marriage of girls when they reach puberty. Prosecutors have produced witnesses who say Alamo had married several young girls, which Alamo denies. Witnesses have also described beatings with a paddle and other abuse, much of which was allegedly administered by Alamo associate John Kolbeck, who is wanted by authorities.

The interviews with the children are supposed to be used by members of law enforcement, child welfare agencies and the courts only. DHS spokeswoman Julie Munsell said the videos are protected by law.

DHS filed a motion last week requesting a court order from Hudson that would force the girl’s parents to take “immediate and active efforts to remove the Sept. 21st Children’s Advocacy Center video and any and all other videos produced” by the center from the Internet within 24 hours of the court’s order.

The motion alleges the girls parents violated a state law that makes dissemination of a video from the child advocacy center a Class C misdemeanor.

The video was posted Christmas Day on a site called The girl gives a complimentary description of her treatment in Alamo’s ministry and denies that she was abused. She also speaks of the end of the world and expresses a belief that at puberty young girls should be permitted to wed instead of “fornicate.”

In all, 36 children with ties to the Alamo ministry have been taken into state custody.

The girl’s mother has posted a letter to President Bush asking for his intervention.

“This is a last opportunity for you to be able to do something for God and man and children,” she said in the letter. She asks that all the children be released by the state and that Alamo be allowed to leave prison, where he is being held without bond.

Alamo, who faces 10 counts, is to be tried starting Feb. 2.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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