US Evangelist Tony Alamo was sentenced today to 175 years in prison for taking underage girls across state lines for sex, effectively punishing him for the rest of his life for molesting children he took as "brides" in his ministry.
During yesterday's hearing, some of Alamo's victims testified about how their families were destroyed while the evangelist took over their lives.
Alamo (75) had been convicted in July on a 10-count federal indictment. US District Judge Harry F. Barnes said Alamo used his status as father figure and pastor and threatened and threatened the girls with "the loss of their salvation."
"Mr Alamo, one day you will face a higher a greater judge than me, may he have mercy on your soul," Judge Barnes said.
Just before Barnes sentenced Alamo, the evangelist offered a brief statement to the court praising God then later adding:
"I'm glad I'm me and not the deceived people in the world."
Alamo's lawyers said they planned to appeal Judge Barnes' ruling. His defence offered a doctor who said he suffered from hardening arteries, diabetes, glaucoma and other health problems.
The evangelist will stay in Texarkana, Arkansas, pending a hearing on January 13 in which Judge Barnes will decide whether Alamo's victims will get restitution from him. After that hearing, Judge Barnes said Alamo would go to a federal prison that has hospital facilities.
A woman Alamo took as a child "bride" at age eight challenged the evangelist from the witness stand to submit himself to God's judgment.
"You preyed on innocent children," she said staring down Alamo, who wore yellow prison scrubs and a windbreaker for the hearing. You have the audacity to ask for mercy. What mercy did you show us?" she said.