LITTLE ROCK — A security company that once guarded the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound in southwest Arkansas has been added as a defendant in a lawsuit against ministry members and ministry-controlled businesses.
The lawsuit was filed in August by six former ministry members, including five women who say Tony Alamo, the ministry’s now-imprisoned leader, took them as “wives” and had sex with them while they were underage. The former members, all women, claim the defendants failed to protect them from Alamo’s abuse.
A seventh former member, Pebbles Rodriguez, who said she was taken as a wife by Alamo when she was 12, joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff in December. The church members and representatives of the church-controlled businesses have denied knowing about any abuse.
On Friday, the lawsuit was amended to add RG & Associates Security of Wake Village, Texas, as a defendant. According to the suit, the company provided security at the church compound in Fouke, including guards who were stationed “round-the-clock” at Alamo’s house.
“RGS performed two main functions - keep those Alamo did not want on the property away, and keep those who Alamo wanted to stay from leaving,” the lawsuit says.
The suit says employees knew about abuse taking place within the compound but failed to report it. In one instance, the lawsuit says, a guard saw a “clergy member” receiving oral sex from an underage girl.
“This security guard reported the incident to his supervisor, Robert Gilmore, who told him to ignore it,” the lawsuit says.
Gilmore, listed in the lawsuit as the company’s registered agent, didn’t return a phone message seeking comment Thursday.
Alamo, 76, was convicted in 2009 of 10 counts of taking underage girls across state lines for sex and was sentenced to 175 years in prison.
The lawsuit is set for trial in May 2012 in U.S. District Court in Texarkana.