Megachurch chief who calls himself the ‘son of God’ charged with intercourse trafficking

LOS ANGELES — The chief of a Philippines-based church was charged with having intercourse with ladies and underage ladies who confronted threats of abuse and “everlasting damnation” until they catered to the self-proclaimed “son of God,” federal prosecutors introduced Thursday.

Apollo Carreon Quiboloy and two of his high directors are amongst 9 folks named in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury final week and unsealed Thursday. The indictment contains three Los Angeles-based directors of Quiboloy’s church who have been charged final yr. The brand new indictment additionally names a church administrator in Hawaii.

Quiboloy, 71, is head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church, based in 1985. The church claims to have 6 million members in about 200 international locations. Its United States headquarters is within the Van Nuys space of Los Angeles.

The church backed the 2016 candidacy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a detailed good friend of Quiboloy. Duterte used the group’s radio and TV program in southern Davao metropolis to precise his views on points approach again when he was mayor of the southern port metropolis.

Quiboloy claims to be “the appointed son of God” and in 2019 claimed he stopped a serious earthquake from hitting the southern Philippines.

The superseding indictment comprises a raft of prices, together with conspiracy, intercourse trafficking of youngsters, intercourse trafficking by pressure, fraud and coercion, marriage fraud, cash laundering, money smuggling and visa fraud.

Quiboloy is believed to be within the Philippines, the place his camp mentioned that he and the opposite accused church leaders have been able to face authorized points though they didn’t reply the costs in an announcement posted on his group’s information web site, SMNI Information Channel.

“We’re assured and able to face no matter is hurled towards pastor Quiboloy and the dominion leaders,” mentioned the assertion, which was attributed to an unnamed church authorized counsel and accused “dissidents” of mentioning the costs to destroy Quiboloy. “We belief the method of justice and we actually count on the reality to prevail and the dominion ministry will proceed to prosper.”

Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra mentioned Quiboloy was not going through any grievance in his nation associated to the U.S. prices. He mentioned with out elaborating {that a} separate grievance for rape was filed towards Quiboloy in Davao metropolis final yr but it surely has been dismissed however the choice was on enchantment earlier than the Division of Justice in Manila. The dismissed grievance included prices of kid abuse, trafficking in individuals by way of pressured labor and trafficking in individuals by way of sexual abuse, Guevarra advised reporters in Manila.

The indictment accuses Quiboloy and others of recruiting ladies and ladies, usually 12 to 25 years previous, as “pastorals” who cooked his meals, cleaned his homes, massaged him and traveled with him all over the world. Some additionally had intercourse with Quiboloy on scheduled “night time obligation,” together with some minors akin to a 15-year-old woman, in response to the indictment.

They have been coerced into “night time obligation” underneath “the specter of bodily and verbal abuse and everlasting damnation,” in response to the indictment.

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

Employees who managed to flee from the church advised the FBI that they labored year-round and have been crushed and psychologically abused in the event that they didn’t make each day quotas, in response to courtroom paperwork from the earlier indictment. Some described having to reside in automobiles at truck stops.

The cash for the nonprofit Youngsters’s Pleasure Basis USA was supposed to learn poor kids within the Philippines. However prosecutors mentioned most of it financed church operations and the lavish way of life of Quiboloy and different church leaders.

Not less than $20 million was despatched again to the church within the Philippines between 2014 and 2019, in response to an FBI affidavit filed with the earlier indictment.