Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jury Convicts Tony Alamo for Sex Crimes

(Revised and expanded)

Can you believe it? - they've gone and put a "PROPHET" in chains for the lowest of venal sins, and all he wanted to do was get the Bible into them pre-pubescent, demon-bound, irresistable young tarts to redeem their profane little souls. You'd think the jurors would have given the Chosen One some small dispensation:

Convicted pastor says he's 'one of the prophets'

"... 'I'm just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel,' Alamo called to reporters afterward as he was escorted to a waiting U.S. marshal's vehicle.

"Shouts of 'Bye, bye, Bernie; — Alamo was born Bernie Lazar Hoffman — came from a crowd gathered on the Arkansas side of the courthouse. Some came from Fouke, the nearby town where Alamo's 15-acre compound sits. Others were former followers of his ministries in Arkansas, California and New York. ... "
Evangelist Tony Alamo Convicted of Child Sex Abuse

TEXARKANA, Ark. — A federal jury has convicted evangelist Tony Alamo on charges he took underage girls across state lines for sex.

The jury issued its judgment Friday in federal court in Texarkana, Arkansas. The jury found the 74-year-old Alamo guilty of all 10 counts he faced. The indictment accused him of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines as early as 1994.

FBI agents and Arkansas State Police troopers raided Alamo's compound in southern Arkansas in September looking for child pornography. Agents arrested him five days later in Arizona.

Alamo had denied the charges, claiming they came from a Vatican-led conspiracy against his ministry. His apocalyptic tracts outline his hatred of the Vatican and his feared "one-world government." The Southern Poverty Law Center considers his ministry a "cult."
'Prophet' pastor 'married' young girls because God told him to
July 24, 2009

Tony Alamo faced his jury today as they rendered their verdict in the case against him. Alamo, the former pastor of the a multi-million dollar ministry, was found guilty of transporting minors across state lines to have sex with them. His victims were present as the verdict was read.

One of the women was reportedly 8-years-old when she was "married" to Alamo. Today the five women range in age from 17 to 33.

Alamo had nothing to say as the verdict was read but he made a point to tell reporters, as he was escorted out of the courthouse, "'I'm just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel." Um... no... that is not why he went to jail.

According to the Associated Press report, the defense lawyers for Alamo said that he was being persecuted "because [the government] doesn't like his apocalyptic brand of Christianity." Yeah, that's why he was brought to trial. Perhaps it was because they didn't like his brand of child abuse.

Though Alamo did not take the stand during the trial, it was said in the report that Alamo "told his followers God instructed him to marry younger and younger girls."

Alamo will face sentencing in about 8-weeks, though it was said that he would appeal the verdict. He could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.

I am left with a couple of questions after hearing this story. Where were the parents of these girls when all of this was happening and what was their part in all of this? Further, are they facing any sort of charges related to this case? Certainly, if they allowed or helped such things to happen to their daughters, they should be held accountable in the crimes as well.

Parents' role in Alamo case is a tricky question

TEXARKANA, Ark. — One by one, the women told the court a similar story. They were "married" to evangelist Tony Alamo as children or teens, pushed into the unions with the blessings of parents who believed it was the highest honor before God.

Their parents had been taught that Alamo was infallible, and with him the girls would have access to amenities like television, ponies, a swimming pool and a carousel — luxuries otherwise unattainable in their tightly controlled lives. But instead of spiritual happiness, the women allege Alamo preyed on them for sex at ages as young as 9 as their parents willingly allowed it or ignored the signs of abuse.

None of their parents have been charged, despite the litany of abuse the women detailed under oath as Alamo faces charges of taking them across state lines for sex when they were underage. Experts say prosecutors would encounter several challenges in accusing the parents of abuse or neglect, most notably in determining how much responsibility they had.

"Some of these parents may be viewed as victims as much as suspects," said D'Lorah Hughes, an assistant law professor at the University of Arkansas. "Alamo has a long history of treating his followers not well, and I think you could take the viewpoint that these people have been duped and have been in some way suckered in as victims."

FBI agent Randall Harris, who led the Alamo investigation, shared some of the same concerns when testifying before the grand jury that indicted the 74-year-old evangelist. When questioned during the trial by Alamo's lawyers, Harris said he never told any of the women their parents could be prosecuted.

"I think some of them may have asked me if there was some way my parents could get in trouble," Harris said. "I explained to them that I didn't believe that they were going to be pursued at the federal level, but that I had no control over the state level."

Federal prosecutors won't say whether any of the parents could face charges. Prosecutor Brent Haltom in Miller County, where Alamo's compound is located, said he has no cases open involving the evangelist or parents of the alleged victims.

Parents themselves offered differing views on their own culpability. The mother of an 18-year-old who said Alamo "married" her at age 8 told jurors she had no problems with her daughter going to the evangelist's home. The mother called Alamo "a holy man of God" and a prophet who took in a troubled girl.

"I was totally in control of her situation," the woman, a defense witness, said. Prosecutors never got the chance to ask if she knew Alamo had sex with her daughter as she left the stand after claiming Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Four of her underage children remain missing after state child-welfare officials obtained an order seeking to put them in protective care.

The Associated Press generally does not name those who say they were victims of sexual abuse, and often doesn't use names of family members to avoid identifying the accusers.

On the opposite end, some said they felt they had to sacrifice their daughters to appease the man who was master over every aspect of their lives. The mother of a girl Alamo allegedly "married" at age 15 said she was pregnant with another child when Alamo summoned the woman, her husband and their daughter to his house and made the announcement.

Alamo told her God instructed him to take their underage daughter as a "wife," she said. Refusing meant being thrown out of the church, which paid for all of the family's food, clothing and shelter.

"I didn't think we'd survive outside. ... That was the only life I knew," the mother said. "When he said the Lord told him to do something, I believed it."

In the past, some allegations against Alamo surfaced because parents spoke up.

More than two decades ago, child abuse charges were filed against him in California alleging that an 11-year-old boy was hit 140 times with a 3-foot board while Alamo gave punishment orders over a speaker phone. The case came to light because the boy's father and uncle, who had previously fled the commune, came back one night to try to take custody of their sons. The boy's physical condition prompted a raid on the Saugus, Calif., compound. The abuse charges were later dropped because Alamo had been imprisoned on tax evasion charges.

In the current case, any attempt to charge the girls' parents with failure to protect their children would be especially difficult, said Linda Spears, vice president for policy and public affairs at the Arlington, Va.-based Child Welfare League of America. ...


Witness invokes Fifth Amendment at Alamo trial
July 22, 2009

TEXARKANA - Under questioning Tuesday at evangelist Tony Alamo's trial, the wife of a fugitive described by authorities as Alamo's "enforcer" invoked her right not to incriminate herself. As she left the courtroom, she was served with documents from child welfare authorities seeking protective custody of her four children.

Jennifer Kolbeck, whose husband, John, is wanted in the beating of a teenage church member, was one of five members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries who took the witness stand Tuesday to defend Alamo, who is charged with taking five underage girls across state lines for sex.

Testifying along with Jennifer Kolbeck were three women whom authorities have described as Alamo's wives and the man who drove a bus on a trip in which Alamo is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Wearing a white jacket and slacks, a pink blouse and tinted eyeglasses, Kolbeck, who was born in the ministry, told jurors that one of the girls Alamo is accused of abusing went to live with him because she was "always in trouble" and because she had a "very bad problem with lying."

Under questioning by assistant U.S. attorney Candace Taylor, Kolbeck said she had driven that morning from a hotel in Shreveport. Asked where she had been before that, Kolbeck said she had been "driving all over the place."

"Is that because you're in hiding?" Taylor asked.

"Absolutely - hiding from harassment," Kolbeck said. She said she had been in Arizona, Oklahoma and California.

Asked why she is hiding, Kolbeck said, "I have no comment on that." That prompted a huddle between Alamo's attorneys and U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes. Afterward, Barnes said Kolbeck would be invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself and that all of her testimony would be stricken.

Authorities have been searching for John Kolbeck since October, when Fort Smith police obtained a warrant for his arrest on a second-degree battery charge in the beating of a teenage church member at a ministry warehouse.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has also been searching for the Kolbecks' four children, ages 12 to 17, since November, when judges in Miller and Sebastian counties issued orders listing 128 children, including the Kolbecks', as being in danger of abuse because of their parents' association with the ministry. The Kolbecks also are the legal guardians of three other children named in the court orders.

As she left the courtroom Tuesday, Jennifer Kolbeck, accompanied by her attorney, was followed by a Miller County sheriff's deputy, an FBI agent and an attorney with the Human Services Department. In the courthouse lobby, a deputy served Kolbeck with the court papers.

Earlier Tuesday, ministry member Sharon Alamo, who prosecutors say is one of Tony Alamo's wives, testified that he had made trips to California to see heart and eye doctors, to work on business ventures such as starting a line of jewelry and recording gospel albums, and to buy a "hairpiece."

She said he traveled for a time in a motor home, then later in a bus, with several women and girls whom she described as his office assistants. Tony Alamo had a bedroom in the back of the bus, where she said suitcases and recording equipment were also stored.

During a trip in the fall of 2004, Sharon Alamo said, the air conditioning in the bus malfunctioned. Since the bedroom sits over the engine, the heat in the bedroom would have been "unbearable," she said, and Tony Alamo didn't spend much time in the bedroom during that trip.

She and the bus driver, ministry member Sanford White, said a 13-year-old girl was along for the trip, but they never saw Tony Alamo go into the bedroom with her, as the girl, one of Alamo's accusers, says he did.

Under questioning by assistant U.S. attorney Clay Fowlkes, Sharon Alamo said she had exchanged vows with Tony Alamo in 1989, but she said they are "not together right now" and stressed that they were never legally married.

"We were together for a while and after several years, we on our own determined to separate, yet we still work together and I live in the same home," Sharon Alamo said.

She also acknowledged that she and Tony Alamo lived with several other women and girls whom she had seen wearing wedding rings, but she did not know whether the other women and girls were Alamo's wives.

Two other women, Alys Ondrisek and Angela Morales, also testified on behalf of Tony Alamo, saying all of his trips were for church business or legal matters. Prosecutors have indicated that they are among Alamo's wives, but did not ask them Tuesday about their marital status.

After each one testified, Tony Alamo smiled and gave them a thumbs up.

Before finishing their case Tuesday morning, prosecutors played recordings of phone calls Alamo had made from the Bowie County jail annex of the Bi-State Detention Center in Texarkana, Texas, where he is being held without bail. In one of them, Alamo assured a member he was "still in charge" of the ministry.

Since a Sept. 20 raid on Alamo's compound in Fouke, child welfare authorities have taken 36 children into protective custody, saying they were endangered by ministry practices that include allowing underage marriages and beatings for violations of church rules. An additional 98 others are listed in court orders as being in danger of abuse, but authorities have been unable to find them.

Among those who were in the courtroom as Kolbeck testified Tuesday was Antavia Meggs, who signed over custody of her three children to the Kolbecks in 2007 but now wants them back.

As Jennifer Kolbeck took the stand, Meggs left the courtroom and went to a bathroom to cry.

"I thought she was out of the country with my kids, and here she is right in front of me," Meggs said.

Human Services Department spokesman Julie Munsell declined to say what action the department might take, citing a gag order in the case. Meggs said she doesn't hold out much hope that serving Jennifer Kolbeck will bring her closer to her children.

"I don't think she'll tell anybody anything," Meggs said.

1 comment:

allexus8 said...

Tony Alamo is so right he is in jail because of false lies from these woman that was given bribery for testify falsely against him, the fed pay every single one of those girls off with gifts and money, they surely went to well spring and just like the traitor judas iscariot received silver to testify falsely. of you go to Tony Alamo website at all thur Tony Alamo site he said the vatican and government will frame him and defame him and jail him because he read the word of god, yes he is TONY ALAMO THE GREATEST PROPHET IN THESE LAST DAYS ANOINTED BY JESUS CHRIST TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD OF GOD, THAT IS THE ONLY THING HE GUILTY OF IS WINNING SOULS TO THE LORD, THAT IS THE ONLY REASON HE IS IN JAIL ,BECAUSE HE EXPOSE SATAN AND HIS FOLLOWER STANK, GOD AND HIS SAINTS WON 2000 YEARS AGO WHEN JESUS CHRIST RISEN AND WAS CRUCIFY ON CALVARY,HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD WAS SHED FOR FORGIVENESS OF SIN AND STILL CONTINUE TO CLAIM VICTORY AND JESUS CHRIST HOLY NAME, REVENGE IS THE LORD HE WILL REPAY!!!!!!!!!