Filipino Church Leader Charged with Child Trafficking – NBC Los Angeles

The leader of a Filipino church was charged with having sex with women and underage girls who were threatened with abuse and “eternal damnation” unless they looked after the self-proclaimed “Son of God,” the federal prosecutor said on Thursday .

Apollo Carreon Quiboloy and two of his top administrators are among the nine people named in a substitute indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed on Thursday. The indictment includes three Los Angeles-based administrators from the Quiboloy Church who were indicted last year. The new indictment also names a church administrator in Hawaii.

Quiboloy, 71, is the head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Church, founded in 1985. The church claims to have 6 million members in around 200 countries. The US headquarters are in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles.

In 2016, the Church supported the candidacy of the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, a close friend of Quiboloy. Duterte used the group’s radio and television programming in the southern city of Davao to share his views on issues when he was the mayor of the southern port city.

Quiboloy claims to be “the appointed Son of God” and claimed in 2019 that he prevented a major earthquake that struck the southern Philippines.

The replacing indictment contains a range of charges including conspiracy, child sex trafficking, violent sex trafficking, fraud and coercion, marriage fraud, money laundering, cash smuggling, and visa fraud.

Quiboloy is said to be in the Philippines. Emails with comments from Israelito Torreon, the Church’s lawyer in that country, were not immediately returned.

The indictment accuses Quiboloy and others of recruiting women and girls, typically between the ages of 12 and 25, as “pastors” who cook his meals, clean his houses, give him massages and travel the world with him. Some also had scheduled sex with Quiboloy “night duty,” including some minors such as a 15-year-old girl, the indictment said.

They were forced to do “night duty,” “under threat of physical and verbal abuse and perpetual condemnation,” according to the indictment.

Quiboloy and the others are also accused of bringing church members with fraudulently obtained student visas or marriages of convenience to the United States to raise funds for the Church’s charity based in Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles.

Workers who managed to escape the church told the FBI that they worked year round and were beaten and mentally ill-treated for not making daily quotas, according to court documents from the previous indictment. Some described living in cars at truck stops.

The money for the charitable Children’s Joy Foundation USA was intended to benefit poor children in the Philippines. But prosecutors said most of it funded church operations and the lavish lifestyles of Quiboloy and other church leaders.

According to an FBI affidavit filed with the previous indictment, at least $ 20 million was returned to the Church in the Philippines between 2014 and 2019.

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