FBI: Girls told agent evangelist Alamo abused them

December 5, 2008

Little Rock, Arkansas - Before evangelist Tony Alamo's arrest on federal sex charges, three girls who lived at his Arkansas compound told an FBI agent that he had sexually abused them, and one said he had threatened to have "someone take care of you" if she talked, according to a newly unsealed FBI affidavit.

Two of the girls said Alamo married them, one at age 9 and the other at age 11, according to the affidavit unsealed Tuesday. One also allegedly said she saw photos Alamo had taken of naked girls.

Alamo, 74, who heads Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, has pleaded not guilty to 10 federal counts that accuse him of violating the Mann Act, a federal law that bans carrying women or girls across state lines for "prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose." The minister has maintained that "consent is puberty" when it involves sex with young girls.

Thirty-two juveniles associated with Alamo have been taken into protective custody since a Sept. 20 raid on his compound in Fouke. Alamo was arrested in Arizona five days after the raid.

Before the raid, FBI agent M. Randall Harris filed an affidavit describing information he said he received in interviews with three girls who had lived at the compound and from a confidential informant.

One girl, now 17, said Alamo molested her when she was 8 and she and the minister "exchanged wedding vows" May 17, 2000, when she was 9.

She said Alamo told her he was "trying to not make her a virgin any longer," the affidavit said. Alamo raped the girl then told her to "clean herself up," according to the document.

The girl also said Alamo took pictures of her naked and she saw similar photos of other girls that Alamo had taken. She said he made her watch pornographic movies in his bedroom to show her how to perform oral sex, the affidavit said.

Alamo's lawyer, John Wesley Hall Jr., did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Another girl, also now 17, told the agent Alamo chose her to marry him March 27, 2003, when she was 11. She said Alamo later raped her on many occasions over the course of several months.

In January or February of 2006, when she was 14, she said, Alamo took her in his bus to California, had sex with her during the trip and when they returned to Arkansas.

A third girl, now 14, told the FBI agent Alamo touched her sexually when she was about 12, sometime around August 2007. He came into a bathroom where she was taking a shower and got into the shower with her, the affidavit said. She said she was afraid he would beat her if she screamed, and he also kept one hand over her mouth while rubbing her. She said he threatened to have "someone take care of you" if she told anyone, the affidavit said.

A confidential informant said she saw Alamo go into his bedroom with young girls and heard him tell them that he had candy bars in his room. The informant said Alamo also kept a Barbie doll collection and at least nine computers in his house.

The unsealed documents listed two Polaroid cameras as items taken by FBI agents in the Sept. 20 raid. Six children were taken into custody at the time.

On Nov. 18, state officials took 20 children from the ministries, most of them found in two vans that were stopped on a state highway near the Texas border. Tuesday, another six children associated with Alamo were taken into custody in Indiana, bringing the total to 32. Arkansas child welfare officials have indicated they are looking for dozens more.

Tony Alamo remains jailed in Arkansas, awaiting trial in February.

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