LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Six girls removed from an evangelical compound as part of an investigation into the possible sexual abuse of minors will remain in state custody for the near future, a state official said Tuesday.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services had until Tuesday night to ask the court for permission to keep the children or return them to the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound. State and federal agents raided the compound Saturday looking for evidence that children were being molested.
Department spokeswoman Julie Munsell said she couldn’t comment about the legal process surrounding the girls’ future, but acknowledged they wouldn’t be leaving the state’s care Tuesday.
“If you don’t see kids coming back today, you can assume we’re moving forward in this process,” Munsell told The Associated Press just before the deadline.
State lawyers will appear before a Miller County judge sometime in the next five days for a closed-door hearing about the girls’ future. The judge will decide whether the state had enough evidence to warrant removing the children from their homes.
Investigators have identified the girls, who range in age from 10 to 17, but are trying to determine who their legal guardians are, Munsell said.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A state official says six girls removed from an evangelical compound over the weekend were taken into custody because they were in immediate danger.
“We did make the decision to remove the children that we felt were in harm’s way or in imminent danger,” said Arkansas Department of Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell.
Investigators have been interviewing the children from the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries complex, which was raided Saturday by state and federal agents looking for evidence that children were molested.
State officials are now trying to identify the parents of some of the children and are trying to sort through calls the agency has received from people claiming to be their guardians.
Channel 7 News spoke with a woman on Tuesday who says she was a member of Alamo’s church for 11 years. Anna Pugh believes four of her children–who she has not seen since 2004–are at one of Alamo’s compounds.
Pugh says she was just 20 years old when she was introduced to the Tony Alamo Ministries. Within five months of joining the church–which she now considers a cult—-Pugh says she married a man 17 years her senior.
(Anna Pugh, Former Church Member) “People out there who don’t understand how someone out there can get pulled into this and be controlled and brainwashed–just answer the question, how did Hitler take over an entire nation? It can be done when you’re not allowed to listen to anything but some man dictate to you what is right and what is wrong 24 hours a day—and they scare you and pump you up and fill you full of fear.”
Pugh described what it was like for her to live in the complex near Alma.
(Pugh) “You’re not allowed to go anywhere, and there are only certain people who are allowed to drive, certain people who can have phones. Everybody is told what they have in their homes. You cannot have phones, TVs, computers–anything to do with the outside world. You are kept very ignorant to what’s going on in the world.”
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – “He is definitely a man who arranges marriages of little girls, and orders beatings of little children.” These are only a couple events Anthony Lane says he witnessed during his two month stay at the Tony Alamo Ministries in 1996 before being kicked out of the church and out of the lives of his three children.
“I felt like I had lost any reason to live I didn’t have a reason to live in fact I was suicidal.”Lane was kicked out of the church after he says he questioned Alamo’s teachings, and after a while he found help and support through a group know as PACA or Partnered against Cult Activities.
Partnered Against Cult Activity is a growing grass roots group started in Fouke Arkansas, whose goal is to educate and inform the public to the truth behind the Tony Alamo Christian Church and to stop his church growth.
The group consist of Fouke and Texarkana residents. PACA also includes ex-members of the Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation scattered around the United States. […]
For more information, you may write to: PACA P.O. Box 1655 Texarkana, TX 75504 e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org