Tony Alamo case may come before Fort Smith grand jury

KFSM News, Arkansas/September 28, 2008

Fort Smith - Another page in Tony Alamo's history with the River Valley could soon begin.

Alamo was arrested Friday while leaving an Arizona hotel, in suspicion of transporting minors across state lines for sexual activity. The evangelist who called Crawford County his home during the 1980s and 90s has waived extradition to Arkansas, and could be taken before a Fort Smith grand jury when he returns to the state.

Alamo's church in Fouke was raided September 20 by state and federal authorities, who believe the compound was the site of child abuse, polygamy and child pornography. Former members of Alamo's ministry, such as Carol Fryer, were not surprised.

"After I left the church I was told about a girl, about 11 years old," says Fryer, "he would make her bring in her sheets, make his bed, then when he was done with her he would make her... remake the bed for him, and take her sheets and wash them."

Authorities say Alamo will be brought before a federal grand jury on the charges, but haven't specified which one. A new panel will be sworn in Tuesday in Fort Smith, but authorities say the timing in just coincidental, and Alamo could be taken to Texarkana instead.

Meanwhile, custody hearings are going on for the six girls taken into state custody after the raid on Alamo's Fouke compound. A judge decided Friday that two girls will remain in foster care, and officials will be back in court Monday for another hearing involving the other four other girls taken in the raid.

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