The fall of evangelist Tony Alamo

The fall of evangelist Tony Alamo November 14, 2009

US preacher sentenced to 175 years for sex crimes

AMERICAN evangelist Tony Alamo was sentenced yesterday to 175 years in prison for taking underage girls across state lines for sex, effectively punishing him for the rest of his life for molesting children he took as “brides” in his ministry.
During his trial, some of Alamo’s victims testified about how their families had been destroyed when the evangelist took over their lives.
Alamo, 75, had been convicted in July on a 10-count federal indictment. US District Judge Harry F Barnes said Alamo used his status as father figure and pastor and threatened the girls with “the loss of their salvation.”
The judge then rather foolishly declared:

Mr Alamo, one day you will face a higher a greater judge than me, may he have mercy on your soul.

Just before Barnes sentenced Alamo, the evangelist offered a brief statement to the court praising God then later adding:

I’m glad I’m me and not the deceived people in the world.

Alamo’s lawyers said they planned to appeal Barnes’ sentence. A doctor testified that the elderly kiddie-fiddler was suffered from hardening arteries, diabetes, glaucoma and other health problems. But on cross-examination the doctor acknowledged he saw Alamo only once in 2004 when Alamo’s requested an eye-lift to make him appear younger.
Alamo will be held in Texarkana, Arkansas, pending a January13 hearing in which Barnes will decide whether his victims should be paid restitution. After that hearing, Barnes said Alamo would go to a federal prison with hospital facilities.
A woman Alamo took as a child “bride” when she was eight challenged the evangelist from the witness stand to submit himself to God’s judgment.  She said Alamo tore her family apart by taking her as a child bride and described how she shook uncontrollably when he first molested her.

You preyed on innocent children.You have the audacity to ask for mercy. What mercy did you show us? What kind of man of God does what you have done?

Two other child brides testified. One, who said she is now employed full-time and has a life of her own outside of the ministry, said she hoped Alamo would spend the rest of his life in jail.

Maybe the real God, not the God you made up, will have mercy on your soul.

Barnes said there was ample evidence that Alamo engaged in a pattern of molesting younger and younger girls in his ministry.
Alamo accused his victims of lying, as he has done throughout his prosecution.
Meanwhile, we learn from the Independent that another frail old paedophile is in police custody in the US, awaiting extradition to Ireland, where he is wanted in connection with child abuse allegations.
Father Francis Markey, 81, is accused of raping a 15-year-old boy during a pilgrimage to Lough Derg, Co Donegal, and again in Co Galway, both in 1968. The priest was first suspended from service 45 years ago, it was revealed.
The retired priest was arrested by US Marshals at his home in Indiana on Monday and was brought before the US District Court the following day.
Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher where Fr Markey served until 1976, revealed he had written to the priest seven years ago urging him to return home and present himself to authorities to answer allegations.

The abuse of a child is a despicable act and I condemn it unreservedly. My primary concern regarding abuse, and allegations of abuse, is for the victim.

Fr Markey, who was ordained in 1952, has been treated four times in mental health facilities after concerns were raised about his behaviour.
He was first suspended and sent for treatment in 1964.
The following year he became curate in Threemilehouse, Co Monaghan, where an accusation was reported to gardai in 1973. He was again suspended and sent for treatment.
Within two years Fr Markey was suspended from another position at Inniskeen parish and sent to a rehabilitation clinic known as Stroud in Brownshill, Gloucestershire.
He then had five years supervision in Clifden diocese in England before he went to a treatment centre run by a religious congregation in New Mexico in 1981.
The priest became a member of the Servants of the Paraclete before he skipped the centre four years later.
It is understood the Director of Public Prosecutions issued a warrant for his arrest 18 months ago and requested the priest be sent back to Ireland to face trial.

Pamela Mozdzierz, a spokeswoman for the US Marshal in northern Indiana, said the pensioner was arrested without any struggle at his home address in Miller Court, South Bend.
The accused priest told the US judge he was in bad health, having survived a stroke and a recent fall in which he hit his head.
Markey was remanded to St Joseph County Jail until 16 November.
HAT TIP: PaulEd (for the Markey report)

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  • My heart goes out to the victims of pastor Alamo. But I’m always puzzled how people can square their beliefs with the terrible things that happen to them:
    Maybe the real God, not the God you made up, will have mercy on your soul.”
    Where did they think their god was while they were being abused?
    No sorry, can’t intervene to save you. That would mean violating your free will, and we can’t have that now, can we?
    BTW ‘Alamo’ means ‘Poplar’ in Spanish. Let’s hope the vile pastor is really ‘poplar’ with the homeys on the inside.
    I’ll get me coat.

  • BTW, has anyone seen the ‘A Moral Conundrum, Resolved with Scripture’ thread over at Pharyngula?
    I suggest you all check it out if you want to be thoroughly entertained and depressed in equal measures.

  • Broga

    Amazing. Time after time they get away with their vile activities. Suppose, as a kind of thought experiment, the effect of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel C. Denett being discovered to have stepped out of line sexually with a child? Or even something much less. Every religious bigot would be lining up to shout that this is the effect of atheism. Not much forgiveness there for them or anyone who shared their views.
    Yet time and again, particularly in the USA, preachers live like millionaires, are caught with their pants down and their secretary over a desk, are caught stealing money donated from their followers and they get away with it. “I repent, I was led astray by the devil, I ask you to accept that I am now cleansed in the blood of the lamb” and they are back in business.

  • Stonyground

    A few years ago on one of BBC radio’s numerous two minute God slots, a speaker seriously stepped out of line when commenting upon a recent child abuse case by claiming that atheists were the most likely perpetrators.
    This of course proved a furious backlash from unbelievers and the guy got totally flamed on various internet forums. The thing that I noticed at the time was that wherever the matter was discussed, Christians derailed the thread. I am not even sure that this was even concious or deliberate, it was probably because they had no case at all if they stayed on topic and so had to change the subject.
    Broga, these people often get away with their crimes because as a rule their followers are phenominally stupid.

  • William Harwood

    I wonder if it occurred to Judge Harry Barnes that the rugbutters might put a hit on him for sentencing a man to 175 years jail for doing precisely what Mohammad did.

  • Broga

    Stonyground. There isn’t any doubt, as I see it anyway, that stupidity and ignorance are essential to an unquestioning flock. They also lack any capacity for detached analysis never mind the education to do any research for themselves. Last time I was in the USA, some years ago, I was told that Charles Darwin converted to Christianity on his deathbed. A happy and convenient reassurance in the bible belt at the time and it continues.
    “How do you know?” I asked and I realised later that the question could have been far better formed.
    “Our pastor preached a sermon on that very fact and he quoted from the books he had read.” And that was it. The pastor was the fount of all knowledge.

  • rog

    Isaac Newton had some famously dodgy beliefs, that did not make his gravitational theories any less valid for the time; if a Christian comes up with a new scientific theory it will be judged on it’s merit and not on his or her world view… 2+2=4, it would not be any less true no matter who said it 🙂
    On the topic, since the nasty little man has no chance of being judged either way after he shuffles off this mortal coil, I hope that he lives a long and unpleasant life – the idea that one can commit a crime, blame it on the devil, then claim gods forgiveness & that that should trump human justice is simply ludicrous.

  • CybrgnX

    The actions of this guy hasn’t been new since the invention of writing.
    As a member of the SCA and do a college paper on witch burnings, I have seen the history of the church throughout europe during the 1000 thru 1600s and they (all sects) were very busy stealing-raping-living better then most- and of course burning.
    What you hear about islam is no different then the xtians during that time.
    But none of that compares to the worse thing imaginable….
    The Alamo guy is guilty…how many of his group still believe he is a holy man and would continue to follow him is they could???? TOO MANY!!
    Read the buyBull and look at history and you see all religions are lead by Alamo types and as long as the delusional followers continue to be so this stuff will continue. Ya my opinion of the average religious person is pretty low, but history agrees with me.

  • Broga

    Good point on Isaac Newton. I think he spent much of his time attempting to discover a method of turning base metals into gold, for example. I also agree that if a “believer” comes up with something which turns out to be true i.e. that there is water on the moon then that is still true – if that is indeed so.
    I recall reading H.L. Mencken’s reports of the Tenessee Monkey or Trial when one of the prime witnesses said that someone who read the bible knew more science than all the scientists in the USA. When you have that kind of closed mind you are asking for trouble and as I recall this man got it. I think much of this half baked biblical stuff is down to intellectual sloth. Belief what some half wit pastor tells you and you don’t have to trouble with slogging through years of hard work to acquire a degree. Nor does the pastor.

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