Alamo follower jailed at hearing
A Tony Alamo follower was found in contempt of court, arrested and jailed during custody proceedings Tuesday for failing to reveal the whereabouts of two of his children.
“He hid the kids out with knowledge of the court order,” said Circuit Judge Joe Griffin as he left the Miller County Juvenile Court Center in downtown Texarkana after dusk. “I gave him a means by which he could purge his contempt.”
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The man, led from court in handcuffs just a few minutes before Griffin emerged, apparently didn’t take the judge up on his offer.
One of the man’s children was among 20 seized in November after circuit judges in Miller and Sebastian counties issued removal orders naming more than 125 children of Tony Alamo followers.
But the whereabouts of two of the man’s children and his wife, are unknown.
Since Griffin and Sebastian County Circuit Judge Mark Hewett signed identical orders allowing the Arkansas Department of Human Services to take the children, only 36 have been located.
Testimony in the November adjudication hearings alleged beatings were administered by Alamo, his wives and a fugitive associate of ministry children. Forced fasts, underage marriages, polygamy, lack of medical care and a failure to meet basic educational needs were also cited as reasons the girls remained in foster care.
Reunification would be a possibility only if the parents severed economic, residential and employment ties with the ministry, Hudson and Griffin ruled.
Many of the parents have expressed a belief that a Vatican-controlled federal government has taken the children in reaction to Tony Alamo’s controversial interpretations of the Bible.