The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Christhiaon Coie has spent 43 years waiting for the day when the brutal, Catholic- and gay-hating cult leader who she says raped her and numerous other girls, some of them as young as 8, would get his just desserts.
Last week, that day finally arrived.
In Miller County, Ark., a judge ordered a church run by 79-year-old Tony Alamo, who is serving a 175-year sentence on 10 counts of sex trafficking minors, to pay seven women abused by him as girls $525 million in actual and punitive damages. The women sued after Alamo’s criminal conviction in Arkansas in 2009.
Coie was not a plaintiff in the case, but she has spent much of her life traumatized by her rape at age 13 or 14 by Alamo, who was then married to her mother, Susan Alamo. She finally fled her home in 1971, and since that day she has done what she could to battle Alamo, a bizarre man who had followers pray for Susan’s resurrection for months after her 1982 death from cancer. Coie even had to sue Alamo to force him to return her mother’s body, which he hid for years.
“I just went, ‘Oh, thank you, God, if you’re up there, thank you, thank you, thank you,’” Coie told Hatewatch today, recounting the beating and sexual abuse suffered by children at the hands of the leader of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. “These women are telling the absolute truth about what happened to them as little girls. The children suffered and suffered and suffered. I know that as sure as I breathe oxygen.”
“Once Tony loses every piece of property, he’s a paper tiger,” she said, adding that she was nevertheless still afraid after years of hiding from Alamo. “We still go to sleep with one eye open; the other one’s partially open, too. Once he realizes there’s nothing left, I think he may try to come after me and a lot of other people who had the guts to stand up. I’d be a fool to say I’m not afraid.”
Unlike many cases with such huge awards, the plaintiffs in this case may actually see most of what they won in the default judgment last week. That’s because the arm of the Alamo Ministries that lost the case, Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, owns property in California that reportedly has valuable water rights. The LA Times reported that the plaintiffs’ lawyer, David Carter, said the rights could bring in as much as $1 billion when they are sold to satisfy the judgment. ( continue to full post… )
Celebrants of World Swastika Rehabilitation Day, who on Saturday arranged to have a swastika-festooned banner flown along Manhattan and the New Jersey shore, are expressing bafflement and outrage over the barrage of complaints their festivities invited.
“Why should the swastika, a symbol of peace for more than 1.5 billion people in the world, offend the people of Manhattan?” asked Thomas Kaenzig, coordinator of the event, in a press release. “Any negative emotions regarding the swastika by people under the age of 70 years old are obviously linked to their education and not to their experiences. It’s about time people were re-educated to understand the original meaning of the oldest and most recurrent symbol in the world.”
The event was organized by followers of the “Raelian movement,” a publicity-loving UFO cult founded by a French race car driver and journalist who claims to be the son of an extraterrestrial named Yahweh and a half-brother to Jesus, Moses and Buddha. ( continue to full post… )
In the wake of two recent religious gatherings, anti-immigrant hard-liners are focusing their fire on two major religious faith groups: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention.
The duo’s shared offense? In the past week, both have publicly opposed legislation that would require businesses to participate in E-Verify, a federal government tool for verifying people’s immigration status, and have called for compassionate treatment of all immigrants, regardless of legal status.
The John Birch Society (JBS) — a conspiracy-minded, far-right organization that made its name in the 1950s and 1960s by spreading anti-communist propaganda and working against school desegregation and has lately edged back into the mainstream by hooking up with Tea Party groups and Glenn Beck fans — took the lead in attacking the bishops. “American Catholic bishops, equating socialism with true Christian charity, have long been allies of the radical Left in its plans to socialize the American economy,” R. Cort Kirkwood wrote in comments that completely ignored the Catholic Church’s historical enmity toward communism and its staunch pro-Americanism during the Cold War. His article was published in JBS magazine The New American released yesterday. ( continue to full post… )
An Arkansas jury yesterday awarded $33 million to each of two men who were ordered beaten as teenagers by cult leader Tony Alamo — a man who is now serving a 175-year sentence for sexually assaulting child “brides” as young as 8 years old and who has a long history of ordering brutal assaults on children.
Jurors were told that Seth Calagna, 21, and Spencer Ondirsek, 20, were beaten by the late John Kolbek on orders from Alamo while they were being raised on the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in southwest Arkansas, according to The Associated Press. Alamo’s lawyer, however, said afterward that the ministry doesn’t have anything like the millions of dollars needed to pay the award.
The Alamo cult, which was described in a lengthy 2007 profile in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, was violently anti-Catholic and anti-gay. But like many other personality cults, its most horrifying aspect was its abuse of children. The Report profile described, among other things, how 11-year-old Justin Miller was held down by four men and beaten bloody in 1988 on Alamo’s orders for a minor classroom infraction. Alamo was initially charged with felony child abuse, but he fled and the charges were dropped seven years later. Miller’s family sued and was awarded a judgment of $1.46 million in a federal court. ( continue to full post… )
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. ( continue to full post… )
Anti-Catholic, pro-polygamy evangelist Tony Alamo will likely be preaching from behind prison walls for the rest of his life, and perhaps nobody is happier than his stepdaughter, Christhiaon Coie.
“I started crying and screaming,” Coie told Hatewatch, upon hearing that Alamo was convicted today by a federal court jury in Texarkana, Ark., on all 10 counts of transporting underage girls across state lines for sex. Alamo, 74, faces up to 175 years in prison, plus fines that could total $2.5 million.
Coie says she was raped by Alamo when she was younger. “I’ve been in this fight, trying to stop him, for nearly 40 years.”
The federal trial of Tony Alamo, who led a notorious anti-Catholic cult, began this week in Texarkana, Ark. Alamo, 74, has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of transporting underage girls across state lines for sex. His trial comes nearly two years after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report published an expose on Alamo that detailed allegations of physical abuse, statutory rape and polygamy.
The magazine reported that Alamo had lost a $1.4 million civil lawsuit brought by the family of an 11-year-old boy whom Alamo allegedly had ordered beaten. The SPLC’s Fall 2007 report also revealed that Alamo contended girls should marry as soon as they begin menstruating, even if they’re as young as 10; in a 2006 radio broadcast, Alamo justified this view by claiming that “God impregnated Mary when she was about 11 years old.” In a 2007 broadcast, he said that first graders should be allowed to marry because they’re having sex anyway.
In addition to his alleged sexual proclivities, Alamo frequently denigrated Catholics. He has blamed them for “every filthy thing,” including communism, Nazism, the two world wars, the Jonestown massacre, drugs, prostitution and pornography. He also spewed hatred toward gays, referring in a defense of polygamy to “these bastards, these homosexual Vaticanites, they condone homosexuals and they condemn marriage.” The SPLC lists his Tony Alamo Christian Ministries as a hate group.
Alamo’s headquarters in Fouke, Ark., was raided last fall by dozens of federal and state law enforcement agents searching for evidence of child abuse. He was arrested on Sept. 25 at an Arizona motel. It’s not the first time he’s faced significant jail time: Alamo was convicted on tax evasion charges in 1994 and served four years of a six-year prison sentence.
A year after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report published allegations of physical abuse, statutory rape and polygamy inside Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, authorities raided the cult’s headquarters in Fouke, Ark. Some 100 state and federal agents entered the compound Saturday night, apparently searching for evidence of child abuse and child pornography.
The Report‘s investigation details the sordid history of Alamo, who was released from federal prison in 1998 after completing a sentence for tax evasion. Alamo had also been charged with felony child abuse in 1989, but that charge was finally dropped in 1995. However, the family of the 11-year-old boy who allegedly was subjected to 140 blows on Alamo’s orders for minor academic infractions filed suit and won a $1.4 million judgment.
As detailed in the Fall 2007 issue of the Report, Alamo in recent years has argued that girls should marry once they start menstruating, even if they are as young as 10. In a 2006 radio broadcast, he said: “God impregnated Mary when she was about 11 years old. So the government idiots, the people that don’t know the Bible, what you’re going to have to do is get a hold of God now, you’re going to have to get up there and cuff him and send him to prison for statutory rape.”
In early 2007, Alamo cited the alleged promiscuity of 1st-graders as grounds for marrying them before the age of legal consent. “I’ve found out from people’s parents that their daughter started having sex when she was 6 years old and had sex every day of her life,” he said in another broadcast. “So right there, by the time she’s 15 years old, she’s had sex thousands of times. I mean, this is just reality.”
The Report‘s story also explores the Alamo cult’s strange background and its leader’s raging hatred for Catholics and homosexuals. Alamo has blamed Catholics for “every filthy thing,” including communism, Nazism, the two world wars, the Jonestown massacre, drugs, prostitution and pornography. He has also attacked his many detractors in Fouke, saying that God would “destroy” what he characterized as his “Vaticanite” critics.
Can the man sink any lower?
After all, we’re talking about a fellow who pickets the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, shouting that they are being punished by God for somehow helping America in its “fag-enabling” ways. A man whose own children have accused him of beating them viciously with a mattock handle. A “pastor” who has celebrated the deaths of coal miners trapped beneath the earth, children killed in school bus accidents, even the thousands murdered on Sept. 11, 2001. The language he employs in his sermons attacking homosexuality — versions of which have been hissed at passing children by his followers — is so disgusting that it is unprintable in the major media.
But now Fred W. Phelps, who runs the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas, and the infamous GodHatesFags website, has taken another step down into the slime. His latest, posted last week on Friday the 13th, is “Thank God for Dead Boy Scouts.” The WBC Video News production opens to the strains of a hymn. ( continue to full post… )
The first week of October was a rough one for World Pastor Tony Alamo, the cult leader who for decades has claimed “homosexuality is caused by demon possession” and the U.S. government is an agent of the “satanic” Catholic Church.
On Oct. 2, Tony Alamo Christian Ministries member Leslie Ray “Buster” White was indicted by a federal grand jury in Tyler, Texas, on charges of trafficking in 1,475 pairs of counterfeit Nike tennis shoes as well as illegally copied CDs. (White has been described as the associate pastor of Alamo Ministries, although Alamo denied that to the Texarkana [Texas] Gazette.) During an FBI raid of White’s Great American Outlet Mall — where the counterfeit goods were allegedly sold — federal agents also seized nearly $110,000 in cash. ( continue to full post… )