Evangelical Leader 'Married' 8-Year-old Girl: Ex-Wife

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2009 4:52 AM CDT
Evangelical Leader 'Married' 8-Year-old Girl: Ex-Wife
Evangelist Tony Alamo is led from the federal courthouse in downtown Texarkana, Ark. Alamo is charged with taking underage girls across state lines for sex.    (AP Photo/Texarkana Gazette, Evan Lewis)

(Newser) – An emotional ex-wife of an Arkansas evangelical sect leader testified yesterday that he forced underage girls  to "marry" and have sex with him, reports the Telegraph. The woman, who said she herself was forced into her marriage at the age of 15, said she began having serious doubts about her situation when Tony Alamo, now 74, took as his latest "bride" an 8 year old, and boasted about fondling her as she held a stuffed animal.

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The woman testifying, now 30, said Alamo warned her not to question what "the Lord told me to do." She said her parents and grandparents were also Alamo followers, and she feared her family would be shunned if she did not submit to becoming his bride. Another woman who "married" Alamo at 17 is expected to testify today. Alamo set up the multi-million-dollar Alamo Christian Foundation in 1969. He has already served four years for tax evasion. He's currently charged with taking underage girls across state lines for sex. (Read more Tony Alamo stories.)

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