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Federal judge upholds $66 million damages award in suit against cult leader Tony Alamo

Federal judge upholds $66 million damages award in suit against cult leader Tony Alamo

Tony AlamoA $66 million judgment against evangelist Tony Alamo serving a jail term has been upheld in a judgment handed down on Tuesday by a federal magistrate.

The judgment against the evangelist was in a case of abuse of two boys in the care of his ministry. The federal judge who described Tony Alamo's conduct as "highly reprehensible"  refused to grant Tony Alamo's application for reduction of the $66 million judgment.

Attorney David Carter, who represented the plaintiffs, Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek, commented on the judgment:

We were optimistic that Judge Bryant would not reduce the jury’s verdict. The facts in this case were compelling. And we are very pleased that the court concluded that the jury carefully considered the evidence and followed the court’s instructions in reaching its verdict…This ruling is just another step in securing some justice for these young men.

The Tony Alamo Christian Ministries raised Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek. They two men were awarded $3 million each in damages and $30 million in punitive damages in a trial in June for abuses they suffered while under Tony Alamo's care.

But Alamo, through his attorney John Wesley Hall Jr., filed a motion after the judgment which argued that the punitive award was unconstitutional and unlawful and said that the jury was motivated by "passion and prejudice. " According to the Tony Alamo's attorney, John Wesley, Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek had the option of leaving the church but did not.

But federal judge Bryant in his ruling held that the evidence showed that the plaintiffs, in the first 18 years of their lives, were subjected to continual verbal and physical abuse which involved ritualistic beatings, forced labor and starvation. The boys were denied education and kept from contact with the outside world. Such was the intensity of abuse the boys suffered that they contemplated suicide and questioned the existence of God.

Tony Alamo is currently serving a 175-year prison sentence for sex trafficking of young girls and, according to reports, John Erwin Kolbeck who beat the boys on Alamo's orders died recently after he suffered a heart attack while on the run from the law.

The defense attorney has, however, filed notice of his intention to appeal the decision.

About JohnThomas Didymus

Transmodernist writer and thinker. Author of "Confessions of God: The Gospel According to St. JohnThomas Didymus"
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