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Tony Alamo ministry member sentenced to life in prison

Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced Thursday (Jan. 9) that Douglas James Christopher, 60, of Valparaiso, Ind., was sentenced today for knowingly transporting a minor from Oklahoma to Arkansas with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Christopher was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The sentencing took place before U.S. Federal Judge P.K. Holmes III in United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith.

“This defendant, like others involved in the Alamo organization, engaged in horrendous conduct involving sexual abuse of a minor child. I appreciate the tireless work of law enforcement and our office to bring sexual perpetrators to justice. We will not rest in our efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who abuse our children,” Eldridge said in a statement.

According to court records, Christopher, a member of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, previously resided at an Alamo compound located in Muldrow, Okla. In September 2008, a law enforcement raid of Alamo’s compound in Fouke, Ark., caused Alamo satellite-compound residents to go into hiding. Christopher and other followers relocated to Valparaiso, Ind.

While living in Oklahoma, Christopher was assigned to stand watch at properties under the organization’s control. One location, on Division Street in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was known as the “mechanic’s shop.” Beginning around June 2003, Christopher began transporting a minor, whose mother he had married in 2000, from the family’s home in Oklahoma to the mechanic’s shop for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse. Specifically, in August 2008, when the minor was 13 years old, Christopher transported the minor to the mechanic’s shop where they then had sexual intercourse in a van parked inside the shop. Shortly after this trip, the minor and siblings were taken into protective custody in response to the federal investigation of Tony Alamo.

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This case was investigated by the FBI Special Agent Timmy Akins and Fort Smith Police Department Detective Kris Deason.  Assistant United States Attorney Kyra Jenner prosecuted the case for the United States.

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