A member of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries was sentenced to life in prison Thursday following his conviction of sexual abuse against a minor, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fort Smith.
Douglas James Christopher, 60, was sentenced in federal court to life in prison without parole, according to U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge’s office. Prosecutors said Christopher transported a minor across state lines for sexual purposes while factions of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries were being sought by federal authorities.
Authorities raided the previous Alamo compound in Muldrow, Okla., in 2008, causing several factions of the group to go into hiding and relocate to their own satellite locations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said Christopher and other followers relocated to Valparaiso, Ind.
Beginning in 2003, Christopher began transporting the minor, whose mother he had married in 2000, from the family’s home in Oklahoma to a location in Fort Smith under the control of the Alamo group, according to Eldridge’s office. Christopher had sex with the minor in a van at the location, prosecutors said.
Shortly after the encounter, the minor and siblings were taken into protective custody in response to a federal investigation into Christopher and the Alamo group, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Fort Smith Police Department.