TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) - A magistrate has ordered evangelist Tony Alamo to remain in federal custody until his trial on charges that he took minors across state lines for sex.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant ordered the 74-year-old defendant detained after former Alamo followers testified that they were beaten at his instruction and that he practiced polygamy with several young women, including a 9-year-old girl.
Earlier in the day, 18-year-old Spencer Ondirsek testified that he left the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound last year after living there for seven years.
Ondirsek, the first witness called by prosecutors, said he was beaten by a man working under Alamo's direction. Ondirsek testified that he was hit about 15 times in the face and smacked about 30 times with a three-foot paddle on three separate instances. He said he was being disciplined for minor misbehavior, such as playing around with a spray bottle.