1/8/09 – Ex-Alamo follower [Buster White] sentenced to 2 yrs probation and house arrest

The Houston Chronicle
January 8, 2009
By CHUCK BARTELS Associated Press Writer

Ex-Alamo follower sentenced to house arrest

TEXARKANA, Texas — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former member of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries to 180 days of house arrest and two years’ probation for trafficking in counterfeit compact discs.

Leslie Ray “Buster” White, 58, of Texarkana, Texas, had pleaded guilty to one trafficking count in September. U.S. District Judge David Folsom noted that it was a non-violent offense and said it would be appropriate to not sentence White to prison.

White briefly addressed the court and apologized. He was accused of selling counterfeit CDs and clothes at a flea market.

“I am very regretful that this has happened,” White said, adding he’s taken measures to avoid getting in trouble again. “I can assure Your Honor that it will not happen again.”

Alamo is jailed, awaiting a federal trial on charges he took underage girls across state lines for sex.

White’s association with Alamo did not come up in the brief hearing. Afterward, White was silent when asked if he was cooperating in the Alamo investigation.

Defense attorney David Botsford said White was “not participating with the church at all.” He said the “specter” of the allegations against Alamo is disturbing. Asked if White is cooperating with prosecutors, Botsford replied, “I’m not going to answer that.”

Past hearings at the Texarkana federal building that involved Alamo have packed galleries, but only a handful of seats were taken by the public at Thursday’s hearing.

Arkansas State Police and federal agents raided Alamo’s compound at Fouke in western Arkansas on Sept. 20, searching for evidence that children there had been molested or filmed having sex. Five days later, FBI agents arrested the evangelist as he left a hotel in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Alamo, convicted of tax evasion charges in 1994, has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. Since the raid, state officials have seized 36 children associated with the ministry over allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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