Joao Teixeira de Faria, who claims that the spirits of more than 30 doctors work through him to achieve ‘miracle’ cures, has been accused of raping a Dutch woman and sexually assaulting nine others.
The 76-year old “spiritual healer” – known as “John of God” – was accused of abuse on Friday in a report broadcast by the widely-viewed Global Television network.
A Dutch choreographer identified as Zahira Leeneke Maus and nine Brazilian women, who remained anonymous, accused Faria of making them perform sex acts, which he insisted was the only way to transfer his “cleansing” energy to them. Maus also told the programme that Faria had raped her.
The associated O Globo newspaper later reported that it had spoken to two other women who gave similar accounts of sexual abuse by Faria, bringing the total to a dozen.
All the women said they were in their 30s when the alleged acts took place in Faria’s “spiritual hospital” in the town of Abadiania, close to the capital, Brasilia.
Globo‘s G1 news website cited a statement from Faria’s press service, saying he had used his powers to treat thousands of people over the past 44 years and he:
Vehemently rejects [allegations of] any improper practice during his treatments.
Faria’s reputation reaches far beyond Brazil, with followers in the United States, Europe and Australia. Oprah Winfrey, the US television celebrity and producer, visited Faria in 2013 to look into his “miracles”.
The fresh allegations aired by Globo come amid a global reckoning of alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men against women under the #MeToo campaign.
A 2005 ABC News report said that the “entity” of King Solomon entered the healer’s body when he was just 16, enabling him to perform miracles. He claimed that more than 30 doctors and notables can enter his body and they are the ones doing the healing.
Among those luminaries are Dom Inacio de Loyola, a 15th century Spanish nobleman; Dr. Oswaldo Cruz, who helped to eradicate yellow fever; and the late Dr Augusto de Almeida, a meticulous and demanding surgeon.
It’s against the law to practice medicine without a licence in Brazil. “John of God” has been charged, fined and even jailed briefly. But he keeps on regardless, saying it’s the ghosts at work, not him.