(AP/Tony Alamo Christian Ministries)
TEXARKANA, Arkansas (CBS/AP) Christian evangelist Tony Alamo has already been convicted of being a pervert pastor who took underage girls across state lines for sex.
(AP Photo/Mike Wintroath)
Now he has to pay.
Photo: Evangelist Tony Alamo is led from the federal courthouse in downtown Texarkana, Ark. Friday July 17, 2009.
The five young women who testified last year that Alamo took them as "wives" and sexually assaulted them when they were minors are entitled to $500,000 each from his multi-million-dollar ministry, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes ordered restitution after a government witness said the women suffered physical and mental pain at the hands of Alamo, who is serving a 175-year prison sentence for taking the women, who were underage at the time, across state lines for sex.
Photo: Tony Alamo and his wife Susan in an undated image.
In his ruling, Barnes noted that each of the victims was assaulted by someone they regarded as a pastor and prophet.
"The defendant has truly, truly damaged these five young girls and I don't think (sic) amount of money this court can order can replace their loss," Barnes said.
Prosecutors said they were confident Alamo, 75, could afford the $2.5 million judgment even though most of his assets are held in his followers' names. He will not have to pay the restitution until his appeals are exhausted.
Photo: Tony Alamo Christian Church, Sept. 20, 2008, after FBI agents and state police raided the evangelist's headquarters.
Dr. Sharon Cooper, a retired Army colonel and developmental and forensic pediatrician, told Barnes that the victims had been sexually abused and exploited, falsely imprisoned by Alamo and suffered neglect.
Each woman, now aged 18-33, suffers persistent and painful menstrual cramps associated with sexual abuse and suffers from chronic back pain because they were forced to give Alamo massages every night at his compound, Cooper said.
All five suffered mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. One suffered vision loss in one eye because she said she'd been repeatedly punched at Alamo's orders, Cooper testified.
Alamo's lawyer, Don Irvin, said he was disappointed with the ruling. He felt the women's claims were speculative and they should have received nothing.
The government had sought $2.7 million per woman, or a total of $13.5 million.
Alamo, who scowled and sighed during Cooper's testimony, presides over a church that claims 100 to 200 members.
Trucking companies, residential property and a number of other ventures fund the ministry's work, including a printing operation that prints church paraphernalia that blames the government or the Vatican -- or both -- for his and the world's problems.
Alamo once owned a Nashville, Tenn., clothing store that catered to celebrities desiring his elaborately decorated jean jackets. His home in Dyer included a heart-shaped swimming pool, but followers who lived on the grounds kept sleeping bags in meeting rooms.
PREVIOUSLY ON CRIMESIDER
11/13/09 - Tony Alamo, Christian Ministries Pervert Preacher, Gets 175 Years for Molesting Child Brides
07/24/09 - Prison for Pervert Preacher: Evangelist Convicted on 10 Sex-Abuse Counts
07/20/09 - Inside the Secretive, Perverted Compound of a Fallen Evangelist
07/16/09 - Million Dollar Man of God 'Married' 8-Year-Old, Say Feds