The fall of evangelist Tony Alamo
US preacher sentenced to 175 years for sex crimes
AMERICAN evangelist Tony Alamo was sentenced yesterday to 175 years in prison for taking underage girls across state lines for sex, effectively punishing him for the rest of his life for molesting children he took as “brides” in his ministry.
During his trial, some of Alamo’s victims testified about how their families had been destroyed when the evangelist took over their lives.
Alamo, 75, had been convicted in July on a 10-count federal indictment. US District Judge Harry F Barnes said Alamo used his status as father figure and pastor and threatened the girls with “the loss of their salvation.”
The judge then rather foolishly declared:
Mr Alamo, one day you will face a higher a greater judge than me, may he have mercy on your soul.
Just before Barnes sentenced Alamo, the evangelist offered a brief statement to the court praising God then later adding:
I’m glad I’m me and not the deceived people in the world.
Alamo’s lawyers said they planned to appeal Barnes’ sentence. A doctor testified that the elderly kiddie-fiddler was suffered from hardening arteries, diabetes, glaucoma and other health problems. But on cross-examination the doctor acknowledged he saw Alamo only once in 2004 when Alamo’s requested an eye-lift to make him appear younger.
Alamo will be held in Texarkana, Arkansas, pending a January13 hearing in which Barnes will decide whether his victims should be paid restitution. After that hearing, Barnes said Alamo would go to a federal prison with hospital facilities.
A woman Alamo took as a child “bride” when she was eight challenged the evangelist from the witness stand to submit himself to God’s judgment. Â She said Alamo tore her family apart by taking her as a child bride and described how she shook uncontrollably when he first molested her.
You preyed on innocent children.You have the audacity to ask for mercy. What mercy did you show us? What kind of man of God does what you have done?
Two other child brides testified. One, who said she is now employed full-time and has a life of her own outside of the ministry, said she hoped Alamo would spend the rest of his life in jail.
Maybe the real God, not the God you made up, will have mercy on your soul.
Barnes said there was ample evidence that Alamo engaged in a pattern of molesting younger and younger girls in his ministry.
Alamo accused his victims of lying, as he has done throughout his prosecution.
Meanwhile, we learn from the Independent that another frail old paedophile is in police custody in the US, awaiting extradition to Ireland, where he is wanted in connection with child abuse allegations.
Father Francis Markey, 81, is accused of raping a 15-year-old boy during a pilgrimage to Lough Derg, Co Donegal, and again in Co Galway, both in 1968. The priest was first suspended from service 45 years ago, it was revealed.
The retired priest was arrested by US Marshals at his home in Indiana on Monday and was brought before the US District Court the following day.
Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher where Fr Markey served until 1976, revealed he had written to the priest seven years ago urging him to return home and present himself to authorities to answer allegations.
The abuse of a child is a despicable act and I condemn it unreservedly. My primary concern regarding abuse, and allegations of abuse, is for the victim.
Fr Markey, who was ordained in 1952, has been treated four times in mental health facilities after concerns were raised about his behaviour.
He was first suspended and sent for treatment in 1964.
The following year he became curate in Threemilehouse, Co Monaghan, where an accusation was reported to gardai in 1973. He was again suspended and sent for treatment.
Within two years Fr Markey was suspended from another position at Inniskeen parish and sent to a rehabilitation clinic known as Stroud in Brownshill, Gloucestershire.
He then had five years supervision in Clifden diocese in England before he went to a treatment centre run by a religious congregation in New Mexico in 1981.
The priest became a member of the Servants of the Paraclete before he skipped the centre four years later.
It is understood the Director of Public Prosecutions issued a warrant for his arrest 18 months ago and requested the priest be sent back to Ireland to face trial.
Pamela Mozdzierz, a spokeswoman for the US Marshal in northern Indiana, said the pensioner was arrested without any struggle at his home address in Miller Court, South Bend.
The accused priest told the US judge he was in bad health, having survived a stroke and a recent fall in which he hit his head.
Markey was remanded to St Joseph County Jail until 16 November.
HAT TIP: PaulEd (for the Markey report)