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Seizure of Children at Alamo Compound Upheld

(CN) - An Arkansas appeals court refused to restore custody to five members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, who claimed their boys were unconstitutionally seized from the church's compound amid allegations that the ministry abused children.

The Department of Human Services presented evidence that some parents in the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries allowed their minor daughters to be married to adult males. Ministry adults allegedly beat the children, forced them to fast and placed girls in Alamo's home without supervision. Alamo allegedly sexually abused one of the girls and "spent time in his bedroom with another," according to the ruling.

In 2008, the state was granted emergency custody of more than 100 children living in the church compound in Fouke, Ark., or with Ministry members.

The appeals court had affirmed a decision giving custody of the families' girls to DHS, and the judges of the Division I Arkansas Court of Appeals made a similar decision for the families' boys.

Though Judge Robert Gladwin agreed with parents that the directed verdict for the state was "premature," he said they should have objected at the trial phase, not on appeal.

The parents who appealed were Alphonso Reid, Richard and Debra Ondrisek, Greg Seago and Brian Broderick.

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