Alleged Alamo accomplice arrested in California

Associated Press/January 24, 2009

Little Rock, Arkansas - A man accused of beating of an 11-year-old boy at a Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in Saugus, Calif., has been arrested.

Douglas Christopher, 55, is accused of holding the boy down while a ministry member beat the child with a paddle, causing the boy to bleed.

Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Christopher turned himself in Tuesday to California authorities. He faces two counts of felony child abuse. Each offense is punishable by up to six years in jail, she said.

Ministry leader Tony Alamo was accused of ordering the 1988 beating, but prosecutors dropped the charges against him in 1995, citing the time that had past and Alamo's conviction on tax evasion charges the previous year.

Currently, Alamo is in federal custody in Arkansas, awaiting trial on charges that he took girls across state lines for sex. Thirty-six children from the ministry, which also operates in Arkansas, were taken into protective custody by the state. The boy's family later sued the ministry in federal court and was awarded more than $1.4 million.

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