Tony Alamo

The sentence effectively punishes Bernie Hoffman, otherwise known as Tony Alamo, the founder of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, for the rest of his life for molesting children he took as "brides" in his ministry.

During Friday's hearing at a court in Arkansas, some of Alamo's victims testified about how their families were destroyed while the evangelist took over their lives.

Alamo, 75, had been convicted in July on a 10-count federal indictment.

Judge Harry Barnes sentenced the 75-year old to 175 years in prison for 10 separate counts and fined him $250,000, justice officials said.

Judge Barnes said the evangelist used his status as father figure and pastor and threatened the girls with "the loss of their salvation."

"Mr. Alamo, one day you will face a higher a greater judge than me, may he have mercy on your soul," Judge Barnes said.

Just before the judge sentenced Alamo, the evangelist offered a brief statement to the court praising God then later adding: "I'm glad I'm me and not the deceived people in the world."

His lawyers said they planned to appeal the judge's ruling.


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