$66M verdict in suit against Alamo upheld

By the Associated Press | September 15, 2011 | 11:30 AM EDT

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A federal magistrate has upheld a $66 million judgment against jailed evangelist Tony Alamo for abuse suffered by two boys when they were being reared in his ministry.

The Texarkana Gazette (http://bit.ly/naBM7d ) reports the judgment was upheld Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Barry Bryant, who said Alamo engaged in "highly reprehensible" conduct.

In June a jury awarded Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek, both now adults, $3 million each in actual damages and $30 million each in punitive damages. Both were subjected to ritualized beatings, forced to work without being paid and denied education.

Alamo attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. argued that the award was excessive and motivated by "passion and prejudice" on the part of the jury.

Bryant said in his order that jurors carefully considered the case.