21 Dec 2010

Lawsuit by survivors targets businesses owned by Tony Alamo cult members who ignored systemic child abuse

Texarkana Gazette - August 28, 2010

Lawsuit targets Alamo followers

Businesses owned by ministry members named in court filing

By Lynn LaRowe

Businesses owned and run by members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries are among defendants named in a civil lawsuit filed Friday by victims of Tony Alamo.

The federal lawsuit also names Alamo’s wife, Sharon.

The suit claims the ministry, related organizations and certain high-ranking members of Alamo’s enterprise knew, or should have known, Alamo was sexually abusing children. The complaint alleges violations of federal law concerning human trafficking that gives victims the right to recover damages in a federal case.

Alamo was convicted in July 2009 on all 10 counts listed in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing young girls across state lines for sex. He is serving a 175-year sentence in federal prison in Arizona.

“We would all like to believe that adults would never allow such sickening abuse to continue for so long. But it happened,” said Texarkana lawyer David Carter. “By bringing this action we hope to hold those who should have protected these girls and failed to do so accountable. We also hope to bring awareness to what can happen when people are not vigilant about protecting children from predators such as Alamo.”

Desiree Kolbek, Amy Eddy, Jeannette Orlando, Nicole Farr, Summer Hagan and Jamie Rodriguez are the plaintiffs named in the complaint signed by Carter. Carter’s firm, Mercy, Carter and Tidwell, and the Texarkana law firm Nix, Patterson and Roach are representing the plaintiffs.

Kolbek, Eddy, Orlando, Hagan and Rodriguez were referred to as Jane Does one through five during Alamo’s federal sex crimes trial in downtown Texarkana in July 2009. Farr testified that she was being groomed to be an Alamo wife at the time she escaped from the Alamo Christian Ministries compound in Fouke, Ark.

Sharon Alamo, Sally Demoulin and Steve Johnson are the individually named defendants.

Sharon Alamo testified that she “spiritually” married Tony Alamo in 1989. Witnesses testified that Sharon Alamo was well aware her husband was marrying underage girls and did nothing to intervene.

Sally Demoulin testified that she worked as a bookkeeper for the ministry. Witnesses testified that Demoulin would coach and school Alamo’s juvenile brides as to how to respond to questions from law enforcement or child welfare agencies if ever questioned.

Steve Johnson oversees operations at Alamo Ministries, Carter said. He also is the registered agent of SJ Distributing, a Fort Smith, Ark., company named as a defendant in the suit.

Other organizations named as defendants are Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, Inc., Gloryland Christian Church, Armful of Help, Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation, Music Square Church, Action Distributors Inc., Advantage Food Group and Jeanne Estates Apartments Inc.

The complaint describes Twenty First Century, Gloryland and Tony and Susan Alamo foundation each as organizations, “operating as a religious organization, church, and/or cult.”

As their “employers” the organizational defendants are “vicariously liable” for the conduct of Tony Alamo and the individual defendants.”

The suit is seeking a minimum judgment of $150,000 per plaintiff, compensation for past physical pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish and past and future medical expenses. Exemplary damages are also sought.

The suit lists liability insurance policies held by the defendants that could be used to satisfy any judgment for the plaintiffs.

“It is very disturbing that so many people within the Alamo “ministries” and related businesses either knew or should have known that Tony Alamo was sexually abusing these girls. He was kept in place as a so called ‘spiritual leader’ and allowed to ‘marry’ girls as young as 8 years old. Year after year,” Carter said. “It is hard grasp the level of physical, mental and spiritual damage inflicted on these young ladies.”

Alamo is appealing his criminal conviction. In addition to briefs containing arguments from prosecutors and the defense already on file, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals will consider oral arguments from the both sides next month before deciding whether Alamo’s conviction will stand.

This article was found at:



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