Jewish Journal

Trial of religious leader Tony Alamo begins

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 14, 2009 | 9:51 pm

Alamo in handcuffs

Opening arguments were delivered today in the trial of Tony Alamo, the religious leader who was arrested last fall for allegedly taking young girls across state lines to have sex with them. From the AP:

Evangelist Tony Alamo preyed on his loyal followers’ young daughters, once taking a girl as young as 8 as his bride and repeatedly sexually assaulting her, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes said that girl’s story and others would unwind an “elaborate facade” Alamo wove around himself as the preacher’s trial on charges that he took underage girls across state lines for sex began in earnest. Alamo’s lawyers argued that the alleged victims traveled across the country to further the outreach and business interests of a “bona fide religious group” that the government targeted out of its own prejudices.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, is almost the sideshow, though, to Alamo’s bizarre life. I mentioned that here. But one of the local TV stations covering Fort Smith, Ark., has a great rundown of the reasons you might want to avoid forget following Alamo.

The station mentions his decision to keep his dead wife in a glass coffin, awaiting her resurrection, and his conviction for tax evasion. But what jumped out at me was Alamo’s response to the charges filed last fall:

“I’m not the one that sets a time limit. When they reach the age of puberty, I wouldn’t recommend that any 8- or 10- year-old girl gets married. But in the event that it would be of the Lord, then I would say it would be all right, but I don’t do that, OK?”

Read the rest here.

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