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The victims of evangelist Tony Alamo, who was convicted of taking five underage girls across state lines for sex, showed him no mercy.
U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes acknowledged their sentiments at the sentencing hearing.
On Friday, the judge sentenced the Texas minister to 175 years but said he hoped a greater judge would have mercy on his soul for his sex crimes.
Alamo, 75, was convicted in July on a 10-count federal indictment for molesting children as young as 8, 11, and 12 years-old he took as "child brides" and threatening the girls with the loss of their salvation," the Associated Press reports.
One woman who Alamo took as a "child bride" challenged the evangelist on the witness stand Friday. "You have the audacity to ask for mercy. What mercy did you show us?" she said.
Alamo's lawyers say they plan to appeal the judge's sentencing ruling. His defense offered a doctor who said he suffered from hardening arteries, diabetes, glaucoma and other health problems.
The sentence, however, brought the victims, now ages 17 to 30, a "huge sense of relief," said assistant U.S. attorney Kyra Jenner in an article by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The story also mentions that during the nearly two-week trial, witnesses told jurors that Alamo had sexually abused them and kept them under his strict control at his house his Christian Minstries' compound.
Religious cult leader Tony Alamo violated the Mann Act, a law originally aimed at stopping women from being sold into prostitution. Alamo was accused of taking girls on trips across state lines for sex from March 1994 through October 2005.
The evangelist will stay in Texarkana pending a Jan. 13 hearing in which the judge will decide whether Alamo's victims will get restitution from him.
After that hearing, the judge said Alamo would go to a federal prison that has hospital facilities.
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