Joao Teixeira de Faria, aka ‘John of God,’ Arrested in Brazil


“Is ‘John of God’ a Healer or a Charlatan?” asked ABC News in 2005. You can add “or a Criminal?” to that headline. The Brazilian faith healer turned himself in on Sunday following allegations he’d sexually abused more than 300 women. It’s a fall from grace for a man who Oprah once traveled to interview. The latest:

  • The timeline: The accusations began emerging only this month, and the BBC reports authorities took notice when “John of God,” or Joao Teixeira de Faria, pulled nearly $9 million from a number of bank accounts Wednesday, sparking fears he might flee the country. An arrest warrant was issued Friday, and the 76-year-old missed the Saturday deadline to comply. He turned himself in Sunday to police in Abadiania, where he’s based and where everyone wears white, notes the Washington Post. He has since been moved to Goiania, the capital of Goias state, and his lawyer says he plans to file an appeal in the hope of getting Faria placed under house arrest rather than kept in police custody. Faria has denied the allegations.
  • So what’s he famous for? “His intense methods of healing,” as BuzzFeed News puts it, which include channeling the spirits of dozens of dead doctors, biblical figures like King Solomon, and historical figures like a Spanish nobleman from the 1400s to treat people with conditions ranging from leprosy to sinus infections to paralysis. BuzzFeed also links to video that shows surgeries carried out without anesthesia; Faria doesn’t have a medical license. In other graphic procedures, Faria is known to shove forceps high into a patient’s nostril.
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