The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Child Rapist and Anti-Catholic Cult Boss Gets 175 Years

By Larry Keller on November 13, 2009 - 4:41 pm, Posted in Anti-Catholic

Cult evangelist Tony Alamo was ordered today to spend his remaining years in a place that nobody will confuse with heaven. A federal judge in Texarkana, Ark., sentenced him to 175 years in prison for transporting young girls he called his “brides” across state lines for sex. Before being sentenced, Alamo, 75, testified briefly and praised God. “I’m glad I’m me and not the deceived people in the world,” he said.

The anti-Catholic, pro-polygamy, gay-bashing evangelist — whose birth name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman — was convicted in July on 10 counts of taking girls across state lines for sex over a period of 14 years. His stepdaughter, Christhiaon Coie, wasn’t among them but, in an earlier interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, said she was raped by Alamo when she was in her teens. “I want to thank [the SPLC] for demanding justice when so many others turn a blind eye to so many pathetic cowards who hide behind Bibles, sheets and children,” she said in an E-mail today as she awaited news of Alamo’s sentence.

Alamo met and married Coie’s mother, Edith — a name she soon changed to Susan — in 1966 and the couple began Tony Alamo Christian Ministries three years later in California. Followers say they were punished with beatings and food deprivation, and threatened with losing their spouses and children. Among other things, Alamo blamed the Catholic church for communism, Nazism and the two world wars.

The Alamos moved the cult’s headquarters to Arkansas in 1975. When Susan Alamo died of cancer in 1982, her husband kept her embalmed body in the dining room of their home for several months in the expectation that she would rise from the dead. Her casket eventually was interred in a heart-shaped mausoleum.

Alamo served four years in prison in the 1990s for income tax evasion. He resumed his ministry when he got out. Last year, federal agents raided his 15-acre compound in the town of Foulke, Ark., near the Texas state line, looking for evidence of sexual activity with underage girls. One teenager told the FBI that Alamo “married” and had intercourse with her when she was 9. An informant told agents that she saw Alamo sometimes take more than one girl at a time to his bedroom, where he kept candy bars and a Barbie doll collection.

Three of Alamo’s child brides testified at his sentencing hearing. One, who said she became a “bride” at age 8, asked Alamo, “What kind of man of God does what you have done?”

U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes told Alamo that one day he will face a higher judge than himself, adding, “May God have mercy on your soul.” Alamo will remain in Texarkana for now, pending a Jan. 13 hearing to determine whether he should pay restitution to his victims. Then the judge will have him sent to a federal prison with hospital facilities.

  • GENO

    The term–”cult” lives up to its standards of having a bad reputation. One newspaper is calling the church of Scientology “a criminal organization”. Which is also a “cult” BTW according to this report:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/sto.....745765.htm

  • Lillian B

    Kitty kill If one were to take you serious then one would come up with a place to abolish all orgainzations and alike places and or groups where by anyone gathers. Schools, Colleges, Birthdays, Weddings, Non for profit, for profit, business organizations, social outlets. anything and everything woudl be abolished.. even all the many places you go to and belong to and or support openly or secretly giving donations or none at all. I think your very judgemental and it causes you to catastophize.. As for me, you know what I am ??? I am a lousy speller

  • Lillian B

    Are there some organizations that preach hate and promote in differnt ways crimal acts, thoughs, ways etc against certain people and their nationalities? Or possible it’s their races. These are Cults aren’t they Geno, Snorlax?

    Sara G Unitarian is a religion movement that I have heard of here and there. And I belevie it is pretty much how you describe. It’s a place that ppl go to gather to be together as they have some like minded beleifs and worship in the same churches and or other gathering places. I have met many of these people and they have always been peaceful. Good fellowshipping is what that is. Very positive people

  • Lillian B

    A place of worship doesn’t make a molestor. A place of education doesn’t make a molester. So that means A catholic church nor the Vatican nor the Protestant churches or millions of other places ppl worship make a child molestor. That would be like saying if a janitor is a molestor of chilren then the school district made him that molestor. I have heard that there are some Religiouse beleifs that promote, condone and advocate that it is okay for an older man to have a Child Bride

  • MrsCaptJack

    So, Snorlax and Geno, what defines a cult from a religion in your eyes? To some of us, many accepted religions have members who are very ‘cult’ like in their ways… What draws the line for you guys?

    In general, I can’t believe this guy still had ANY followers left after keeping his embalmed wife in his dining room for months. Maybe he expected her to get up and start dinner??

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty

    Yanno, killerkitty makes a good point. While we’re at it, how about selling off the Vatican and all its wealth, to help the poor of the world? Not like Pope-atine is doing anything with it….

  • Lillian B

    A catholic church doesn’t make a molester. A protestant church doesn’t make a molester. No more than a School district makes a molester. Though I do hear that soem religions allow and or condone an older man taking a child for his bride.

  • Lillian B

    a molester is a molester and he is lurking in the churches and the places against churches. In the many other places people call their places of worship. The molester lurks around where his prey is or will be or could be. That is anywhere be it at home, in schools, camps or int he parks. The molester lurking is of no particular race, color, creed, religious or non religious place inside or outside of himself. He has the desire, then the temptation and the attemps to fullfil his sick thoughts. The children are innocent and they too are of no particular anything as in race, color, creed, religious or non religious paces inside or outside of themself and the world they live in as Children. To harm a child in this manner is beyond my comphrehension. RECENTLY here have been “MORE” cases found out about adults who are of relgious organizations who have molested children who are now adults.

  • Sara Gondwe

    Hi Jean,
    Although I can relate to your statement about religion I wonder if you are familiar with Unitarian Universalism? I’m not aware of how this religion, being so open-minded and respecting of the individual, how it can alienate “man”.
    Thank you.

  • Jean REMOND

    Religion is the opium of the people. Whether you call it church, sect or cult or whatever you like, its form, practice and ideology is bound and meant to alienate man. Period.

  • Sara Gondwe

    What happens to the victims? How can they be helped? If this pervert has any money, it should all go to them. Of course he should be responsible for retribution. This is a heinous crime against children. Best said comment, “He can now become a multiple brides for others.

  • Killykitty

    The way you handle crimes like these is not to target “cults”, but prosecute any organization that commits fraud, crimes, sexual abuse, etc. We must end the practice of allowing individuals and/or organizations to hide behind their religious affiliations while engaging in all manner of perfidy.

    Whether priest, minister, evangelist, or politician, this must be stopped. From Jim Jones-style megolamania to the local choir leader, society cannot stand by and ignore abuses of this sort.

    Freedom of religion requires responsibility from the religious. Whether confronting fraud or sexual abuse, believers must uphold the highest standards of accountability for their leaders, members, followers, and organizations.

    So sayeth Killerkitty.

  • Kate De Braose

    Fairness and decency goes out the window when “business” has been reduced to getting rich and then pretending to be an authority on the ways that everyone else should live.

    Right now, our reasonable attempts to provide medical care to our citizens is being met by the richest as a run on their personal bank accounts.

    Insurance corporations are terrified that the rest of us will discover just how much money and how many legal rights they have taken away from our communities in return for their false promises.

  • Royaloak

    What I can never understand is what attracts people to the “churches” of these nut cases. The nut case, himself, I can understand, but what persuades others to be attracteed to him and his “chuch”. Can anyone help me out?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty

    Oh, good. Now Tony can be someone’s “bride”….

  • John A

    “What kind of man of God does what you have done?”

    Quite a lot of them, apparently? It’s all the rage for “men of god” to have their very own sex scandal. Funny how their “god” have very little to do with Christ or anything that God-with a capital G-taught us? Or tried to teach us, anyway. We seem to keep screwing that up somehow.

  • Lillian Brooks

    There are people who identify themselves as a certain religion but don’t even go to church. Then there are those of us who are simply Spiritual and that is just right for us. Not everone goes to church or services. Many watch their mass or worship or lectures on television or listen to the radio. No one cares about anyone anymore and no one is fair any longer. It’s just not fashionable.

  • GENO

    I agree with “Snorlax”. Indeed laws should be enacted to go after “cults” only, but then again, that very law should not be used on smaller & hence– “religious” groups, such as The Native American Church or Native American religion for instances and such. There are many smaller groups of believers who don’t normally attend larger & mainstream churches. So there needs to be a distinction established between small religious circles and “cults”. So one’s group cannot be mistaken for another…

  • Carter

    Back in the 1960′s this dirt-bag had lost souls walk up and down Hollywood Blvd & the Sunset Strip asking for donations from passers-by. I remember very clearly my thoughts and how they appeared to be duped by this false “profit”.
    I am very glad justice was finally meted out.
    It seems a damn bit late for all the harm this individual had been doing.
    I still wonder how people can become so entrapped by various religions & commit so much harm. One day some form of Judgment will stop all of these liars & con-men. I don’t know where it will come from but I do know that all the harm done from various religions speaks volumes as to the depth of misinterpretation & falsehoods we have embraced.

  • Snorlax

    Federal prosecutors should form an anti-cult task force to shut down more of these dangerous cults, like The Family, the $cientologists, and the Moonies.

    Cults are not religious, they are criminal conspiracies. They are NOT protected by the Establishment Clause.

  • GENO

    Good Riddence……

    Adios Amigo.

  • Corey R Armstrong

    It’s so nice to know that he isn’t one of the ones that got away. Sex crimes are the worst that a person can commit, but too often we see judges being lenient on these offenders. Of all the deviants that exist in the system and also others who are quite innocent, they should never be allowed freedom as I believe that there is no rehabilitation with this type of criminal mindset. I just wish that the system would appropriately recognize the severity of certain crimes, instead of overpunishing menial offenses such as drug possession.