Commuters pass it every day on their way to work. Neighbors have reported odd sightings and have been threatened for getting too close. Vans come and go two or three times a day. There is 24-hour security and large white fences that block the view of the housing complex near the highway.
In our own backyard there is a complex with the name Tony Alamo Christian Church displayed above the door, and it is located on Sierra Highway just before the town of Agua Dulce, Calif.
The church was deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its anti-catholic teachings.
Rumors of brainwashing and polygamy have surrounded this church ministry since its establishment in the 1960’s. The founder of it all, Tony Alamo, was recently jailed and sentenced in 2010 to 175 years in prison for trafficking underage girls across state lines for sex.
Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle, Inc. is documented in public record, to own the land where the church complex is located and a parcel of land and houses behind the Halfway House Café, both are located along Sierra Highway. The company was founded and run by Tony Alamo and it is the name most of his properties are under today.
Public records indicate the property is under management of Rodi Pollock Pettker Galbraith, a law firm in Los Angeles. They refused to comment on their involvement with Tony Alamo and his businesses.
Locals describe it as a suspicious place, but no one knows what is going on behind closed doors, except for the religious followers.
Neighbors report that vans pass by the café at least once a day at around the same time, but the property looks to be vacant with the exception of a standard looking white Ford van and an old station wagon. Blinds in all the houses are drawn and there is no movement or noise.
A waitress at the Halfway House Café, Sally Moore, 50, reports witnessing strange things since she started working at the Halfway House Café.
“My son used to play with some of the kids who lived back there,” Moore said, “all of them were home-schooled and I never saw any girls, only teenage boys.”
Though her son never reported any strange occurrences, Moore never let him enter any of the homes. “About a year ago a young girl ‘escaped’ with a man, they sat in the corner of the café for about an hour to wait for a taxi, another middle aged man showed up and tried to convince the girl to come back to say goodbye to the rest of the people at the complex,” said Moore “In the middle of a heavy rainstorm the two people went outside to wait for the cab, arguing with the middle aged man until they finally left,” she said.
24-hour security keeps watch over people entering or exiting church property.
Lauren Weightman, a 21-year-old from Agua Dulce, was riding a quad one day on the mountains behind her house, which happen to be near the back of the church property. She ran out of gas and continued to walk down the mountain to meet someone who had brought her gas for the quad.
“A man popped out of the bushes, I didn’t hear him coming so it scared me. He told me to get off the churches property because I was trespassing. I thought it was weird he was out in the middle of nowhere,” Weightman said.
Neighbors report séances held at the late hours of the night, “I went outside and heard voices so my family and I went to check on it” Kaitlyn Clunich said, “We got to close and they warned us if we didn’t leave and go back in our house, they would call the police.”
On March 25, 1988, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas history & culture website, the church complex on Sierra Highway was raided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department because of child abuse reports. The deputies found three boys who were subjected to the abuse and returned them to their fathers who had been previously excommunicated by the church.
Victims have come forward to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show, to share their story of Alamo and the hellish environment they were exposed to.
The victims who appeared on the appeared on the show, allegedly, were made to be Alamo’s ‘spiritual wives’ at the young ages of 8 to 12. They say that they were sexually assaulted, drugged and beaten by Alamo until they escaped.
Tony Alamo started his ministry in the 1960’s with his now deceased wife, Susan Alamo. He has been in and out of jail since then for an assortment of things, including tax evasion, theft, trafficking of underage girls, child abuse, illegal weapons charges, violating the Fair Labor Act and has been accused of polygamy.
The Tony Alamo prayer and information hotline declined to comment on the fact that Alamo has been found guilty of 10 counts of taking underage girls across state lines for sex. They did however comment on why there is 24-hour security.
“There has been shootings and violent crimes against members of the church and the churches property,” the hotline said.
The Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on this.
Alamo’s lawyers have planned to appeal his trial and to prove his innocence. “Pastor Alamo is currently serving the ministries from prison, writing scripture and sending it here to us,” the prayer and information hotline says, “along with providing salvation for the terrorists and murderers in prison with him.”