Tony Alamo: Alamo Foundation Falls under Increasing Scrutiny

Article ID: DA002 | By: CRI Statement

Sixty sheriff’s deputies swooped down on proper­ties owned by the Alamo Christian Foundation (aka Holy Alamo Church Conse­crated) in Saugus, California on March 24 and arrested four men on charges of child abuse.

In recent days former mem­bers and parents of members have been reporting that the controversial sect, founded by

Tony and the late Susan Alamo in 1967, has been apply­ing increasingly strict discipline to members and their children, sometimes in the form of beat­ings.

The raid stemmed from the case of Carey Miller, 34, and his brother Robert, both 16-year ex-members of the Founda­tion. The Millers, who own a trucking business in Arkansas, left the sect in 1987 during a dis­pute with leader Tony Alamo over their business. Their wives, however, refused to leave with them, fleeing west to an Alamo ranch in the Saugus area (30 miles northwest of Los Angeles) where the sect in recent years has shifted much of its resources and people. Before long they were living along with their three children with new com­mon-law husbands, according to court documents.

Although Carey and Robert Miller won custody of their chil­dren in court late last year, their wives never returned them. The deputies recovered the children during the raid on two church communes in the Saugus area and in late June the courts award­ed permanent custody (with no visiting rights) of the children to their fathers.

According to Cynthia Kisser of the Cult Awareness Net­work, the Miller situation marks the third active case in which the sect has tried to whisk away chil­dren from their families.

In the other two cases the parents (both ex-members of the group) who won legal cus­tody of children were not able to recover all of them. In one case a mother’s two daughters, ages 10 and 11, have been missing and presumed to be somewhere in the sect since 1982. In another case a mother who recently exited from the sect and told law officials that children are being harshly beat­en in the group, was able to get her two-year-old daughter out of the sect, but her son, born August 28, has not been recov­ered and she believes the church is hiding him.