Court upholds decision to strip Alamo followers of parental rights

Arkansas News Bureau/April 28, 2011

Little Rock - A Miller County circuit judge's decision to terminate the parental rights of seven followers of Tony Alamo was upheld today by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

State human services officials removed the 16 minor children from the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in Fouke in 2008. The state Court of Appeals in 2009 upheld their removal.

Miller County Circuit Judge Joe Griffin in 2009 ruled in five separate cases that the 16 children had been neglected and terminated their parents' parental rights.

The judge concluded that, among other things, the children faced danger of beatings and forced fasts ordered by the evangelist who was convicted in 2009 of transporting underage girls across state lines for sex and sentenced to 175 years in prisons.

In five separate opinions today, the state Supreme Court upheld Griffin's rulings against Miriam and Albert Krantz, parents of six; Carlos and Sophia Parrish, parents of four; Greg Seago, father of three; Bethany Myers, mother of two, and Alphonzo Reid, father of one.

In each decision, the high court said that the parents lived with their children on Alamo's compound and that state human services officials told the parents when they removed the children from the compound in 2008 that if they moved away and found jobs outside the Alamo Ministries, they would be able to get custody of their children.

In each case, however, the parents refused to comply.

Justice Paul Danielson, who wrote the opinion involving Seago, said the father of three "failed to remedy the conditions that caused removal by failing to obtain housing and employment separate and apart from (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries), despite DHS' meaningful efforts."

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