Brazilian faith healer accused of sexually assaulting 300 women turns himself in
Brazilian police said Sunday night that the celebrity spiritual healer accused of sexually abusing more than 300 women has turned himself in.
Known as João de Deus – or "John of God" – Mr Teixeira had until 3pm local time Saturday to comply with an arrest warrant, and was considered a fugitive.
Brazilian prosecutors had included his name on Interpol’s wanted list, though his lawyers were confident the medium would turn himself in.
The case came to light last Saturday when 13 women went on national television to make sexual violence accusations against the faith healer.
The Prosecution Service of the state of Goiás confirmed it has since received 355 reports of abuses committed by Mr Teixeira from women across Brazil and abroad.
Mr Teixeira has insisted that he is not guilty of any alleged abuse.
Among the accusers is Mr Teixeira’s daughter, Dalva Teixeira, 49, who called her father a “monster” and alleged she was beaten and raped by the medium until she was 14 years old.
“He used to say that God didn’t exist, that he was God,” she told the Brazilian press.
Ms Teixeira claimed the abuse stopped when she became pregnant by one of her father’s employees, and that the faith healer beat her and caused her to have a miscarriage.
“None of those women is lying”, said Ms Teixeira, about those who have stepped forward and accused her father of abuse. “I know because I went through it, I suffered.“
Many of the reports of abuse are similar, involving unaccompanied women being invited to have private spiritual treatment sessions with Mr Teixeira, in which he allegedly forced the victims to masturbate him or perform fellatio.
Mr Teixeira is a celebrity in Brazil and around the world for his renowned ability to perform spiritual “cures”.
In 2012, Oprah Winfrey visited Mr Teixeira’s retreat to film an episode of her interview series Oprah’s Next Chapter, the video of which has now been taken down from the presenter’s YouTube page.
Mr Texeira “doesn’t have the physical health and emotional structure to live as a fugitive from justice”, one of his lawyers told the Brazilian press.
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