LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses evangelist Tony Alamo of sexually abusing five girls on separate occasions beginning in 1994, including a period when he was serving a tax-evasion sentence at a halfway house in Texarkana.
The 74-year-old minister, who remains jailed while awaiting a February trial, was indicted for alleged violations of the Mann Act, a federal law that bans carrying women or girls across state lines for "prostitution or debauchery." But each count also mentions the alleged underlying Arkansas crimes, ranging from carnal abuse to rape.
The victims were unnamed, but each was described as under age 18.
Alamo previously pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts. His lawyer, John Hall Jr. of Little Rock, did not immediately return a call Tuesday. Last week, Hall described the new charges as "the same kind of stuff, just more of it."
Debbie Groom, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, said she could not comment on the indictment.
Among the claims in the indictment are that Alamo took a girl across state lines in 2000 and 2004 to commit what amounts to rape; committed what amounts to third-degree carnal abuse in 1998 and 1999 while serving his tax-evasion sentence; and committed first-degree sexual assault.
Arkansas State Police and federal agents raided Alamo's compound in southwestern Arkansas on Sept. 20, searching for evidence that children there had been molested or filmed having sex. Five days later, FBI agents arrested the evangelist as he left a hotel in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Since the raid, state child welfare officials have seized 26 children associated with the Alamo ministries, citing stories of alleged beatings and sexual abuse.
Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 and served four years in prison after the IRS said he owed the government $7.9 million. Prosecutors in that case argued that Alamo was a flight risk and a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in his congregation.