Children Seized after Christian Compound Raid in Fouke
100 agents stormed the 15-acre Tony alamo Christian Ministries compound in Arkansas yesterday and seized 6 children as part of an investigation into possible physical and sexual abuse. The minors will remain under temporary state custody and will be interviewed by authorities to determine if abuse did take place.
Alamo established himself in Fouke in the late 90s and has considerable influence in the small town of about 800.
Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis notes there have always been complaints about the Christian leader, and worries about the reputation his town will receive as a result of this emerging scandal.
Purvis said private armed security guards would often patrol the dead end road that leads up to the Alamo complex. He said the guards wore their pistols on their hips "just like regular police, but they're not." For at least a time, the church had "Keep Out" signs on its lawn.
Purvis said that four members of the Alamo ministries are now vying for city council seats in the November election. Purvis said that since he became mayor, he has received calls from former church members with allegations of child abuse, polygamy and underage marriage.
Some label Alamo as a scammer; before moving to Fouke, he had just completed a sentence for tax evasion.
Alamo, reached by phone Saturday in Los Angeles, California, denied any wrongdoing.
"It's a hoax," Alamo said. "They're just trying to make our church look evil ... by saying I'm a pornographer. Saying that I rape little children. ... I love children. I don't abuse them. Never have. Never will."