LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered punitive damages to be reduced from $60 million to $24 million against an evangelist who ordered two boys to be beaten.
The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld an additional $3 million award each for the two men, now in their 20s, who grew up in Tony Alamo’s ministries.
The court’s decision comes after a jury last year found Alamo liable for battery, outrage, and conspiracy and awarded the two men $30 million each in punitive damages, plus another $3 million each for the abuse they suffered.
The appeals court said Tuesday that the men should get $12 million each instead of $30 million each in punitive damages.
‘‘Despite the exceptionally reprehensible nature of Alamo’s conduct, it would be unconstitutional to let the punitive damages — and their 10:1 ratio to compensatory damages — stand,’’ Judge Duane Benton wrote.
Alamo is serving a 175-year prison term after being convicted in 2009 of taking girls across state lines for sex. He has asked the court to vacate that sentence, too.
The federal appeals court shot down Alamo’s other arguments, including one that he was not liable because he was exercising his First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.