TEXARKANA, Texas, July 16 (UPI) -- A former wife testified against a leader of a multi-state ministry charged in U.S. District Court with transporting underage girls across state lines for sex.
The former wife of evangelist Tony Alamo, 74, testified Wednesday she was forced to marry and have sex with Alamo when she was just 15 years old, KTAL-TV, Shreveport, La, reported.
She said also testified that girls as young as 8 became his wives and that she and the other wives had sex with Alamo on a schedule based on their marriage date.
The federal government alleged Alamo's chauffeur, Sylvestre Primous, drove the defendant around the
country, taking the girls across state lines for sex on some of those trips, a claim Primous denied.
In opening statements Monday, defense attorney Don Ervin told jurors that the main purpose of the interstate trips was to conduct church business, not sexual activity, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Assistant U.S. attorney Clay Fowlkes in his opening statement told jurors that the victims would testify that Alamo took them as wives at ages as young as 8 and repeatedly sexually assaulted them.
Protesters have picketed the federal courthouse in Texarkana, Texas, demonstrating against Alamo.
Mary Coker, a member of Partnered Against Cult Activity, told KTAL she participating in the picket to help "the self-proclaimed pastor to get the justice he's been avoiding for years."