Alamo filing says parents are culpable

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/August 10, 2011

A member of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries said in a court filing Monday that the parents of women the church’s leader took as his “wives” when they were young girls should be held responsible for any abuse the women suffered.

Attorneys for Steve Johnson and Jeanne Estates Apartments Inc. in Fort Smith filed the request in response to a lawsuit by the women seeking damages against three church members, several church-controlled businesses and a Texas company that provided security guards at the church’s compound in Fouke.

The attorneys for Johnson and the apartment complex said the parents of the women should be added as defendants in the lawsuit because they allowed their daughters to live with the ministry’s leader, Tony Alamo, and in “several instances” were told that the girls would become Alamo’s wives.

Alamo, 75, was convicted in federal court in 2009 of taking five of the women across state lines for sex when they were girls. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison.

The women’s parents “consented to and allowed Plaintiffs to enter into the arrangements with Tony Alamo that ultimately led to the actions underlying his criminal convictions,” the attorneys for Johnson and the apartment complex said in the court filing.

The attorneys asked U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III for permission to file a “third party complaint” adding the women’s parents as defendants.

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