Nov 18 (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Thursday introduced intercourse-trafficking expenses alleging that ladies and younger ladies had been coerced to have intercourse with the founding father of a Philippines-primarily based totally church who’s a pal and adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte.
A 74-web page indictment expenses Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, founding father of a church referred to as Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC) and different church officials, together with U.S.-primarily based totally church directors, with strolling a intercourse-trafficking operation that threatened sufferers as younger as 12 with “everlasting damnation” and bodily abuse.
We are assured and prepared to stand something is hurled towards Pastor Quiboloy and the Kingdom leaders. We consider the system of justice and we truely anticipate the reality to prevail,” Quiboloy’s legal professionals stated in a statement.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles stated the brand new indictment improved on allegations made remaining 12 months towards 3 church directors primarily based totally withinside the city. It expenses 9 defendants with taking part in a scheme wherein church individuals had been introduced to the USA the usage of fraudulently acquired visas and compelled to solicit donations to a bogus kid’s charity.
Prosecutors stated the donations had been used to pay for “lavish lifestyles” of the church leaders.
The contemporary indictment provides Quiboloy and 5 different new defendants to an current indictment filed in 2020. Prosecutors stated U.S. government arrested 3 of the brand new defendants on Thursday, however 3 others, together with Quiboloy, had been believed to be withinside the Philippines.
Lawyers for the opposite new defendants couldn’t at once be diagnosed and the Philippines embassy did now no longer at once reply to a request for comment.
The Philippines’ justice ministry stated it had now no longer had any conversation from the USA on the subject of the case. Duterte’s spokesperson, Karlo Nograles, declined to touch upon Duterte’s courting with Quiboloy.
The indictment alleges that Quiboloy and different defendants recruited ladies elderly 12 to twenty-five as private assistants, or “pastorals.” It stated they had been required to put together Quiboloy’s meals, smooth his residences, deliver him massages, and feature intercourse with him in the course of what they referred to as “night time duty.”
Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “Owner of the Universe” and “Appointed Son of God”, is an established pal and non secular adviser of Duterte. The evangelist is observed through tens of thousands and thousands of Filipinos and Church leaders are distinctly influential in Philippine elections.
In September, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, a candidate for subsequent 12 months’s presidential election who has often clashed with Duterte, sued Quiboloy for libel after he accused the a couple of international champion of embezzling finances supposed for a sports activities complex.
Duterte has in beyond spoken to Philippine media of his lengthy friendship with Quiboloy, and as president became interviewed some of instances through the pastor on his TV show.
Duterte is averted through the charter from strolling for a 2nd time period as president.