Brazil 'faith healer' sentenced to 118 years for rape
September 16, 2023 09:16 PM
A famous Brazilian "spiritual healer" accused of sexually abusing female followers has been sentenced to more than 118 years in prison for raping four women, authorities said.
Joao Teixeira de Faria, 81, better known as "Joao de Deus" or "John of God," treated tens of thousands of people per month at his "spiritual hospital" in the small town of Abadiania in central Brazil, according to officials.
He shot to international fame when US TV star Oprah Winfrey profiled him in 2013.
But hundreds of women later came forward alleging he had sexually forced himself on them in order to "cure" them of ailments, in cases dating back to 1973.
Faria was arrested in 2018. The self-described medium, who denies the accusations, had been under house arrest.
Goias state criminal court Judge Marcos Boechat sentenced him Friday to a prison term of 118 years, six months and 15 days on charges of "rape, rape via fraud and rape of a vulnerable individual," the court said in a statement.
The ruling grouped a total of 17 cases against Faria, who already had several criminal sentences against him.
The judge also ordered him to pay the victims damages of up to 100,000 reais (around $20,500).