Six Children in Custody after Evangelist's Compound Raided

September 21, 2008

(CNN) — Six children were put into temporary custody after authorities raided an evangelist's Arkansas compound, a state police spokesman said Sunday.

The children were being interviewed as part of an investigation into whether they were physically or sexually abused at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries near Texarkana, Arkansas, according to Bill Sadler.

About 100 agents raided the 15-acre site Saturday and met with no resistance, he said.

Alamo, reached by phone Saturday in Los Angeles, California, denied any wrongdoing.

"It's a hoax," Alamo said. "They're just trying to make our church look evil ... by saying I'm a pornographer. Saying that I rape little children. ... I love children. I don't abuse them. Never have. Never will." Watch Alamo deny the allegations

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Asked why authorities were searching the property, Alamo compared himself to Christ.

"Why were they after Jesus?" he asked. "It's the same reason. Jesus is living within me."

The children were in the custody of the state Department of Human Services, Sadler said.

FBI agents, the Arkansas state police and officials with the DHS participated in the raid at the church property in the town of Fouke, about 12 miles from Texarkana.


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