Evangelist Tony Alamo Surrenders on Child Abuse Charges
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) _ Evangelist Tony Alamo surrendered Wednesday to face child abuse charges stemming from activities at a commune he founded near Los Angeles more than 20 years ago.
Alamo, 56, pleaded innocent in Newhall Municipal Court to one count each of felony child abuse and corporal punishment. He was freed after posting $250,000 bail.
Prosecutors allege that he ordered a severe paddling of the son of a follower at the now-defunct Holy Alamo Christian Church commune in Saugus in January 1988.
Municipal Judge Keith Byram scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 12.
Danny Davis, Alamo’s attorney, called the case without merit and said ahe will file a motion for dismissal.
Alamo, and his late wife, Susan, were founders of a street ministry that grew into a multimillion-dollar conglomerate of businesses in Arkansas, California and Tennessee.
His empire crumbled in the late 1980s because of the child abuse allegation and tax problems. Alamo and several followers fled after charges were filed. He was arrested in July in Tampa, Fla.
In September, a federal jury in Arkansas found him innocent of a charge that he threatened to kidnap a federal judge.
Alamo still faces alleged tax and labor violations in Arkansas. Davis said Alamo was allowed to travel to California from Arkansas after posting two bonds totaling $450,000.
Alamo’s decision to surrender was voluntary, since California never sought his extradition, Davis said.