Jurors convict evangelist on all 10 sex counts
TEXARKANA, Ark. €” Tony Alamo, a one-time street preacher who became an outfitter of the stars and fought the federal government over claims he underpaid followers for church work, was convicted Friday of taking five girls across state lines for sex.
The jury of nine men and three women found Alamo guilty of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex, in violation of a nearly century-old federal law. Alamo was accused in a 10-count indictment that said the abuse started in 1994. Sentencing will be in six to eight weeks.
Women ranging from age 17 to 33 told jurors that Alamo “married” them in private ceremonies while they were minors, sometimes giving them wedding rings. Each detailed trips beyond Arkansas’ borders for Alamo’s sexual gratification.
Defense lawyers said the government targeted Alamo because it doesn’t like his apocalyptic brand of Christianity. Alamo has blamed the Vatican for his legal troubles, which include a four-year prison term for tax evasion in the 1990s.
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