Tony Alamo, child rapist and self-proclaimed pastor who owned Sierra Highway property in Acton and had an online ministry in his name despite a 175-year federal prison sentence for sex crimes against children, died Wednesday. He was 82.
Alamo, aka Bernie LaZar Hoffman, was convicted in 2009 of transporting children across state lines for sexual purposes. He was given the maximum allowable sentence. He died in a federal prison facility in North Carolina with about 167 years left to go.
Alamo had been in ailing health the last two years, according to W. David Carter, a Texarkana-based attorney who has fought for years to recover damages from Alamo's various estates.
Carter represents seven girls also referred to as his "child brides," who were all underage " when Alamo was convicted of transporting them across state line for sexual purposes, as well as two men who were boys when they were beaten and starved by members of the church.
Two of the properties still sought by Carter include land in the Santa Clarita Valley, including the church that still bears his name and is suspected to be responsible for numerous fliers put on cars in Canyon Country.
One of the challenges in getting the SCV properties is that Alamo, after a 1998 conviction for tax evasion, Alamo began to change the way he acquired and titled property, Carter said, noting they were put in the names of his followers. The Sierra Highway property for example, was sold to a property management company, he said, and his firm is still contesting the sale years later.
He said he's been able to wrangle a "substantial amount" for each of the victims against a more than half-billion-dollar judgment levied against the convicted rapist.
A circuit judge in Arkansas awarded $525 million in damages to seven women who were physically and sexually abused by Tony Alamo when they belonged to the evangelist's ministry, according to a report by Lynn LaRowe of the Texarkana Gazette.
In the meantime, followers at Tony Alamo's Santa Clarita Valley properties on Sierra Highway continue to carry on the church in the name of Alamo. There's also a property in the Acton area, according to Carter.
"Once we took all their (stuff) they cleared out of Arkansas," Carter said, noting Alamo had more than 30 properties, most in Arkansas, when Carter began to go after him. "It's amazing how once you take the roof from over their hood, it takes the fight out of their spirit for (Alamo)."