Evangelist's enforcer is sought for beating followers
Jailed evangelist Tony Alamo, 74, faces new charges on reports that he ordered beatings at his Arkansas compound for those who committed even minor infractions against his teachings.
18-year-old Seth Calagna was beaten by John Erwin Kolbeck with a 2-by-6 wooden board because he apparently made a sarcastic remark about Harry Potter and one of Alamo's followers wrote him up for the incident. Kolbeck, 49, is being sought on a second-degree battery charge. He has not been seen since September, when the ministry was raided by federal and state agents.
Alamo is charged with taking children across state lines for sex.
When Arkansas detectives spoke to Calagna, he said the Alamo complex was run on fear. Followers were instructed to report on each other; offenders would be punished with beatings. He said the beating was so severe that his back bled from his wounds for a week. An earlier beating left his face swollen and his buttocks bleeding.
The boy, who was 17 at the time of the beatings, reluctantly talked to detectives, as he had been taught by Alamo that law enforcement is evil. His family still lives at Alamo's compound, although he no longer lives there. He said in one incident that his father chose to be beaten by Kolbeck rather than be forced out of the church.
Alamo was recently ordered held until his trial in mid-November as he is a “threat to public safety.”
(For more background, see related Ground Report article, “Evangelist suspected of child abuse and pornography.”)
Tags: Tony Alamo , Tony Alamo Christian Mini , Child Abuse , Religious Leaders And Chi , John Erwin Kolbeck
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