36 children now in protective custody
The seizure Friday of four young brothers associated with Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Arkansas brought to 36 the number of children taken into custody by state child-welfare authorities.
Julie Munsell, spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said in an e-mail Friday evening that the four boys, all under 18, were taken into state custody in Arkansas about 5:45 p.m. Friday.
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She said no other details were available.
Since a Sept. 20 raid on Alamo’s compound at Fouke in southwest Arkansas, state officials have seized 36 children associated with the jailed evangelist’s ministries over stories of alleged beatings and sexual abuse.
Alamo, 74, remains held without bond on charges that he violated 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.”
Alamo faces trial in February on the 10 federal child-abuse charges in Arkansas. Alamo’s lawyer has said he may ask a judge for more time to prepare a defense.
Officials: 4 more children found
[…] The brothers, the youngest of whom is 8, already have a sibling in foster care, said Arkansas Department of Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell.
The boys were found in a residence with their mother shortly before 6 p.m. DHS, accompanied by the Arkansas State Police, removed the kids “without incident,” she said.
“They all appeared to be in good general health,” she said.
Because the four boys are brothers of a child who already has a case in Miller County, a probable cause hearing that must be conducted within five days will occur before the same judge hearing their sibling’s case.
Previously, rulings in custody hearings conducted by Miller County Circuit Judges Jim Hudson and Joe Griffin left the children in foster care. Reunification with parents is possible if economic, residential and employment ties to Tony Alamo Christian Ministries are cut, according to court officials.
The children taken in November and early December are scheduled next year for final hearings in Miller and Sebastian counties, where the ministry owns property in Fort Smith. In November, removal orders containing the names of more than 125 children were signed by circuit judges in both counties. […]