LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A lawyer suing jailed evangelist Tony Alamo over alleged abuse says the preacher's right to religious freedom doesn't allow him to beat children.
In federal court filings this week, W. David Carter wrote that protecting the public trumps constitutional protections afforded to religion. Alamo's lawyer said in a court filing last week that the Bible requires spanking unruly children, and he suggested that Alamo had permission from church parents to discipline their children.
The 74-year-old Alamo faces trial in February on charges he took children across state lines for sex.
Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 in Memphis, Tenn., and served four years in prison after the IRS said he owed the government $7.9 million. Prosecutors in that case argued that Alamo was a flight risk and a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in his congregation.
Alamo once had a clothing store in Nashville, Tenn., as well as a church and a downtown mission there.
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