TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - A judge has jailed another member of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries for refusing to say where her children are. Circuit Judge Joe Griffin said he had no other choice but to find the mother in contempt of court when she refused to cooperate. Griffin is presiding over a hearing to determine the fate of 23 children taken into protective custody by the state amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse by church leaders.
In all, the state has seized 36 children since a September 20th raid on the church compound in Fouke in western Arkansas. The state is searching for dozens of other juveniles whose parents are associated with the ministry.
The jailed woman has three sons who were taken into custody during a traffic stop on Highway 245 in Texarkana. The judge found her in contempt for hiding her three daughters from the state.
Griffin on Tuesday found a father in contempt of court and sent the man to jail after he refused to say where two of his sons are. A third son is in state custody.
Alamo remains in federal custody on a 10-count indictment alleging he violated the Mann Act that prohibits taking females across state lines for sex. He has denied the charges but said his religious beliefs allow marrying girls when they reach puberty. His federal trial is to begin in May.