TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - Parents of 21 children associated with the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries must sever their ties to the ministry before regaining custody of their children.
That order comes from an Arkansas judge interviewed by the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He cited a history of underage marriages
and beatings in the jailed evangelist's church for his decision.
The judge also said children in the ministry received substandard
schooling and had not received required childhood vaccinations.
State child-welfare officials seized 23 children associated with the ministry in November and December.
Since a September raid on an Alamo compound in Arkansas, state
welfare officials have taken 36 children associated with the
ministry. Court orders allowing the state to take the children into
protective custody initially named nearly 100 other children, but
officials have said either parents or the ministry likely were hiding the youths.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)