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.
The next day, the Intelligence Report released “The Ravening Wolf,” an investigative article detailing the 73-year-old Alamo’s history of tax evasion, vicious anti-Catholic and anti-gay rhetoric, and polygamy. Alamo, who has himself had multiple wives, preaches that little girls should marry as soon as they start menstruating and cites, among other things, the alleged promiscuity of first-graders. This is a photo of Jackie Garner, 12, on her wedding day.
The article provoked a storm among Alamo followers and critics, with some 11,000 people, by one count, reading the story online in a single day.
In the counterfeit case, White pleaded innocent after his arrest. Alamo, for his part, told the Texarkana paper that White was being “railroaded because he goes to my church.” If convicted, White could face up to 25 years in federal prison and $2,250,000 in fines. Trial is scheduled for December.