Trinity Foundation doesn’t normally report on the more salacious side of televangelism, be it Christianity, pseudo-Christianity, or Islam for that matter. There is more than enough corruption stemming from dark money swishing around in religious organizations (see our “Dark Money…” article). We urge donors to follow the money, but when that’s not possible, follow the scandal.
A huge amount of sexual abuse and sex-trafficking is flying under the radar shielded by government agencies that fail to provide adequate oversight, abusive non-disclosure agreements and threats to fire employees that speak out, and by other means.
Church leaders operating with dictatorial powers, and not in humility, pressure followers for sexual favors. Consider the following examples:
Susan and Tony Alamo, PHOTO: GILBERT B. WEINGOURT/ZUMA PRESS/, From a Wall Street Journal article titled “‘Ministry of Evil: The Twisted Cult of Tony Alamo’ Review: Hell on Earth” by Dorothy Rabinowitz
Some televangelists never seem to go away, even after their death. The late convicted serial statutory rapist and tax evader Tony Alamo is back on television here in the U.S. on media owner Kevin Adell’s religious TV channel “Word Network Church” up to four times weekly.
Alamo passed away on May 2, 2017, while in federal custody.
In 2009, Alamo began serving a 175-year prison sentence in Tucson after being convicted on 10 counts of sex trafficking minors—transporting underage girls across state lines for sex.
A little background: Though many celebrities such as Johnny Cash, Black Sabbath, and the cast of TV’s Dallas wore jackets purchased from his Nashville country and western clothing store, his organization, Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, was widely regarded as a cult.
His followers worked in Alamo’s many businesses for almost nothing aside from the food they ate. In 1982 Alamo, who was married at least six times, held a vigil over his wife Susan’s dead body for months, hoping to resurrect her from the dead.
In 1976, the US Department of Labor brought charges against Alamo for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He lost the suit and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985 and the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of his church retroactively for a prior 4-year period.
However, Alamo’s lawyers fought the IRS ruling in the courts for seven years until 1992 when Special Trial Judge Larry L. Nameroff ruled that the organization during the period in question was essentially “operated for Tony’s and Susan’s private benefit.” From 1994 to 1998, Alamo served four years in prison for income-tax evasion. He later claimed he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel.
So now, the creepy dead guy is back… on a creepy religious TV network!!
Word Network Church—Kevin Adell’s purported “Christian” TV network has faced its own legal troubles. Its tax-exemption was revoked by the IRS in March 2015 retroactive to 2007. Adell was paid an average yearly salary of $5.4 million from 2008 to 2011. When the TV network realized it was in trouble in 2013, they created a backup plan that went into effect as soon as the revocation took effect—they became a church… Church of the Word, a/k/a Word Network Church—the perfect vehicle to hide its profit motives.
Naasón Joaquín García
L.A. Times photo, from article titled “From An L.A. Prison Phone, La Luz Del Mundo Megachurch Leader Addresses Followers in Mexico” By Summer Lin and Libor Jany
Convicted child-molester Naasón Joaquín García (N.J.G.) still leads the multi-million-member Mexico-based La Luz Del Mundo (LLDM) church from within prison walls here in the U.S. N.J.G is believed to be the “Elect” one to connect church members to God. He is facing sixteen more years in prison and a possibility of more federal charges—read our March article here.
The U.S. is home to many dozens and perhaps hundreds of LLDM churches, with 35 in Texas alone.
Pastor Apollo Quiboloy leads the “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, Inc.” Filipino-based worldwide church with millions of members. On November 10, 2021, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest. He is wanted by the FBI for bulk cash smuggling and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of children by force, fraud and coercion.
His millions of followers believe he is the “Appointed Son of God.” The FBI charge alleges that female assistants “gave him massages and were required to have sex with Quiboloy in what the pastorals called “night duty.”
Adnan Oktar and his ‘kittens.’Credit: Global Ltd, From Haaretz article “Orgies, Blackmail and anti-Semitism: Inside the Islamic Cult Whose Leader Is Embraced by Israeli Figures” by Asaf Ronel
Last year, Islamic televangelist Adnan Oktar received an 8,658-year prison sentence from an Istanbul, Turkey-court, for sexual assault, abuse of minors and other crimes. Oktar was reported by the BBC to have his own television channel through which he delivered religious sermons.
His original January 2021 conviction, of 10 charges which included “leading a criminal gang, engaging in political and military espionage, sexual abuse of minors, rape, blackmail and causing torment,” sentenced him to 1075 years in prison.
However, that conviction was overturned and he was retried by a court in Istanbul, and sentenced to an even more incredibly impossible number of years. Oktar referred to the many beautiful women surrounding him as his “kittens”.