‘Son of God’ charged with a raft of sexual abuse crimes

‘Son of God’ charged with a raft of sexual abuse crimes November 20, 2021

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Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, above, head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Church, and two of his top administrators are among nine people named in  an indictment that alleges conspiracy, sex trafficking of children, sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, marriage fraud, money laundering, cash smuggling and visa fraud.

The church was founded in the Philippines in 1985. Its US headquarters is in the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles. It claims to have six million members in about 200 countries, according to Religion News Service.

The indictment claims that Quiboloy, 71, a self-proclaimed “Son of God”, was charged with having sex with women and underage girls who faced threats of abuse and “eternal damnation” unless they catered to his needs, federal prosecutors announced on Thursday.

The church backed the 2016 candidacy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a close friend of Quiboloy. Duterte used the group’s radio and TV program in southern Davao city to express his views on issues way back when he was mayor of the southern port city. In 2019 Duterte described paedophile Catholic priests as “sons of bitches” who ought to be killed.

In 2019 the preacher  claimed he stopped a major earthquake from hitting the southern Philippines.

Quiboloy is believed to be in the Philippines. Emails seeking comment from Israelito Torreon, the church’s attorney in that country, weren’t immediately returned.

The indictment accuses Quiboloy and others of recruiting women and girls, typically 12 to 25 years old, as “pastorals” who cooked his meals, cleaned his houses, massaged him and traveled with him around the world.

Some also had sex with Quiboloy on scheduled “night duty,” including some minors such as a 15-year-old girl.

They were coerced into “night duty” under “the threat of physical and verbal abuse and eternal damnation.”

Quiboloy and the others also are accused of bringing church members to the US with fraudulently obtained student visas or sham marriages to solicit donations for the church’s charity, based in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale.

Workers who managed to escape from the church told the FBI that they worked year-round and were beaten and psychologically abused if they didn’t make daily quotas, according to court documents from the previous indictment. Some described having to live in cars at truck stops.

The money for the church’s nonprofit Children’s Joy Foundation USA was intended to benefit poor children in the Philippines. But prosecutors said most of it financed church operations and the lavish lifestyle of Quiboloy and other church leaders.

At least $20 million was sent back to the church in the Philippines between 2014 and 2019, according to an FBI affidavit .

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