Rio De Janeiro: Several women have come forward in Brazil to accuse an internationally known self-proclaimed spiritual healer of sexually abusing them under pretext of trying to “cure” them of depression or other problems. The allegations against Joao Teixeira de Faria, 76, better known as “Joao de Deus” (“Joao of God”) were made late on Friday on a programme on the widely viewed Globo Television network.
A Dutch choreographer identified as Zahira Leeneke Maus and nine Brazilian women who remained anonymous accused Faria of making them masturbate him or perform fellatio, 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 reported it had spoken to two women who gave similar accounts of sexual abuse by Faria, bringing the total to a dozen. All the women said they were aged in their 30s when the alleged acts took place between 2010 and early this year 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 treatments.” Faria’s reputation reaches far beyond Brazil, with followers in the US, Europe and Australia. Oprah Winfrey, the US television celebrity and producer, visited Faria in 2013 to look into his “miracles”.