Tony Alamo a preacher convicted for sex with minors

Tony Alamo a Preacher convicted for sex with minors - Pedophilia

Tony Alamo, a one-time street preacher who built a multimillion-dollar ministry and became an outfitter of the stars, was convicted Friday of taking girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex. Alamo stood silently as the verdict was read, a contrast to his occasional mutterings during testimony. His five victims sat looking forward in the gallery. One, a woman he "married" at age 8, wiped away a tear.

"I'm just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel," Alamo called to reporters afterward as he was escorted to a waiting U.S. marshal's vehicle.

Shouts of "Bye, bye, Bernie" — Alamo was born Bernie Lazar Hoffman — came from a crowd gathered on the Arkansas side of the courthouse. Some came from Fouke, the nearby town where Alamo's 15-acre compound sits. Others were former followers of his ministries in Arkansas, California and New York.

The jury of nine men and three women took about 11 hours to consider the charges against Alamo. The 10-count federal indictment accused him of taking his underage "wives" across state lines as early as 1994.

Authorities in September charged Alamo, the 74-year-old founder and leader of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, and raided his 15-acre compound near Texarkana, Arkansas.

Jurors reached the verdict after more than eight hours of deliberations. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Between March 1994 and October 2005, Alamo transported five girls younger than 18 across state lines for sex, according to the indictment.

The criminal complaint included accounts from three of the girls, two of whom were 17 when the complaint was filed last year and one who was 14. All three said Alamo sexually abused them. In the trial, the five women, now 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.

Tony Alamo Biography

 Tony Alamo (born Bernie LaZar Hoffman on September 20, 1934) is an American preacher, singer, entrepreneur, and religious evangelist and a convicted child sex offender. He and his late wife Susan are best known as the founders of a fundamentalist Christian organization currently known as Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. The organization is based in and around Fouke and Alma, Arkansas, United States. It has been referred to as a cult.

Hoffman was born in Joplin, Missouri, to Jewish-Romanian parents in 1934. As a child he moved with his family to Montana, where he was briefly employed as a delivery boy for Helena's Independent Record newspaper.

In the early 1960s, Hoffman moved to Los Angeles, California. He assumed the names Marcus Abad and Mark Hoffman and pursued a career in music. He was briefly incarcerated for a weapon-related offense. Hoffman married Helen Hagan (born Helen Alice Muller in New York, New York) in 1961. On May 25, 1964, the couple had a son, Mark Anthony Hoffman. While married to Helen, he met aspiring actress Susan Lipowitz (born Edith Opal Horn in Dyer, Arkansas), a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity who was nine years older than Hoffman and married to a man whom Hoffman would later describe as a "small time Los Angeles hood". After both Hoffman's and Lipowitz' divorces, Lipowitz and Hoffman married in a 1966 Las Vegas, Nevada, ceremony, and the couple legally changed their names to Tony and Susan Alamo.

Together, the couple established the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation in 1969 in Hollywood, California. They also manufactured and sold a line of "Tony Alamo" brand sequined denim jackets, a business that would eventually land Alamo in prison for tax evasion.

Susan delivered the sermons on the Alamos' syndicated TV program during the 1970s while her husband appeared to sing a gospel song. When Susan died of cancer on April 8, 1982, Alamo claimed she would be resurrected and kept her body on display for six months while their followers prayed. After 16 years her body was given to her family.

In 1984 Alamo married Birgetta Oyllenhammer, owner of a clothing design and manufacturing company in Southern California.

In 1985 Alamo excoriated Pope John Paul II and president Ronald Reagan. "Did you know that the Pope and Ronald Reagan are a couple of Anti-Christ Devils and that they are selling us all down the drain?" asked a tract entitled Genocide. That same year, a federal grand jury in Memphis, Tennessee, charged Alamo with filing a false income tax return, and he reportedly failed to file income tax returns during the next three years.

He then married Elizabeth Amrhein. After a custody battle, they lost control of her children.

For a time Alamo had a retail store in Nashville, Tennessee, called The Alamo of Nashville.

In February 1991 Alamo ordered his followers to bring along his second wife's body when they evacuated the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation compound in Crawford County, Arkansas. The compound was about to be raided by federal marshals in the wake of a civil lawsuit against Alamo.

Alamo was ultimately convicted of federal tax evasion in 1994. He completed a prison sentence and was released on December 8, 1998. He then went to a halfway house in Texarkana.

Alamo's followers sometimes distribute tracts of his writings publicly. The tracts predict impending doom and Armageddon and invite the reader to accept Jesus as his or her savior while condemning Catholicism, the Pope and the American government as a Satanic conspiracy behind events such as 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the John F. Kennedy assassination. Tracts currently being distributed include a picture of Alamo circa 1986. In a tract distributed shortly before the siege of the Branch Davidian establishment in Waco, Texas, Alamo protested the media's use of the word "compound" to describe the campus of his seminary and the word "cult" to describe his ministry.


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