Minister Sentenced to 175 Years in Prison

According to a CNN article, Tony Alamo – found and leader of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries – was recently sentenced to 175 years in prison.

The 75-year-old minister was accused of allegedly sexually abusing underage girls and bringing them over state lines to engage in sexual activity. He violated the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting young children across state lines for illegal purposes such as sexual activity.

Alamo was arrested in Flagstaff, Ariz. in Sept. 2008. Police intercepted the minister with his wife at the Little American Hotel. During his arrest, over 100 federal and state agents searched his compound in Texarkana, Ark.

During the search, Arkansas police found six young girls in the compound and removed them from the premises. All the girls alleged that Alamo had sexually abused them.

Alamo claimed the accusations were a hoax. He claimed the young girls who made the accusations were “just trying to make {the] church look evil by saying I’m a pornographer. Saying that [he] rape[d] little children.”

Alamo was convicted on 10 federal counts for crimes dating back to 1994. He was charged for offenses that spanned over an 11 year time frame.

In addition to prison time, Alamo was fined $250,000 for all his criminal charges.

The U.S. attorney for Western District of Arkansas stated, “Given the number of victims and the difficult type of testimony they had to provide in order to get to trial, it’s gratifying for them to see him get this sentence.”

Alamo’s defense lawyer has filed an appeal.

Alamo awaits a second court hearing in January, when Judge Harry F. Barnes will make the decision if the victims will receive restitution. He will remain in Texarkana until the court date and then he will be transported to federal prison.

According to a New York Times article, Judge Barnes stated, “Alamo abused his powers as a fatherly figure.”

Alamo first started preaching in California where he started a commune. Once he established ministries in Arkansas, he became a controversial preacher.

Alamo’s ministry was described as a cult by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. They claimed Alamo preached that females were fit for marriage when they became sexually mature.

This is not the first time Alamo has been charged with a federal crime. He was also convicted on charges of tax evasion back in 1994. The IRS claimed he owed $7.9 million, and he spent four years in prison.


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