An Oprah-endorsed celebrity “spiritual healer” was sentenced to 19 years in prison for four rapes in what will likely be the first of many prosecutions stemming from a mountain of sexual abuse allegations — totaling at least 250 — brought against him.
We covered the case against Joao Teixeira de Faria, known as “Joao de Deus” (“Joao of God”), in December 2018 when the Brazilian guru was accused by 200 women of sex abuse, by claiming, among other things, that he could only use his supernatural powers to cure them through sex acts.
Oprah did a show about his “healing” powers in 2013, even called him “inspiring,” which helped him gain more followers around the world.
He’s already received a 20-year jail sentence, but that may just be the beginning. Of course he plans to appeal it.
João Teixeira de Faria drew people from all over the world to his small city two hours west of capital, Brasilia, with promises he could treat everything from depression to cancer, and attended to as many as 10,000 patients per week. Hundreds of women, including his daughter, alleged he regularly engaged in abuse ranging from groping to rape.
João de Deus is facing additional cases related to 10 sex crimes, according to the court’s statement.
It’s not a shock that a spiritual leader has been accused and convicted of sexual misconduct. That happens all the time. What’s even more troubling is the sheer volume of cases involved. The number of potential victims is mindblowing. That’s why a 20-year sentence doesn’t seem just. It’s possible he gets a lengthier punishment, but anything less than the rest of his life seems far too small.
That said, this spiritual celebrity is 77 years old. That means a nearly 20-year sentence is effectively a life sentence. If these 10 other charges end up the same way as the others, he could end up with at least 40 more years tacked onto his existing sentence. As long as his appeal isn’t successful, that should be more than enough to keep him away from other innocent women and girls who he might hurt if he ever got the chance.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Mark for the link)