Apollo Quiboloy faces charges in the US related to sex trafficking, fraud, and money laundering.
- Megachurch pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who runs a children’s non-profit based in LA, recruited underage girls for sex, US prosecutors say.
- Quiboloy, who is a spiritual adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, faces charges of sex trafficking and fraud.
- He called himself “The Appointed Son of God” and told victims that sex with him was a duty.
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The founder of a Philippines-based church with an estimated six million members worldwide has been charged by US authorities on suspicion of running a sex trafficking ring and coercing underage girls into having sex with him.
Apollo Quiboloy, 71, who heads the megachurch The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, faces multiple charges of fraud, sex trafficking, and money laundering, according to court documents seen by Insider.
Two of his top administrators have were as well — Helen Panilag and Teresita Tolibas Dandan — the US Justice Department announced Thursday.
Quiboloy, who called himself “The Appointed Son of God,” also ran the California-registered non-profit The Children’s Joy Foundation, which used donations to fund the pastor’s luxury lifestyle, prosecutors said.
They said Quiboloy and his administrators recruited girls and women typically between the ages of 12 and 25, calling them “pastorals.”
The pastorals were tasked with cleaning Quiboloy’s residences, preparing his meals, giving him massages, and traveling with him around the world, including to his residences in Hawaii, Las Vegas, and California, prosecutors said.
They were also made to have sex with Quiboloy, which he and his administrators called “night duty,” said prosecutors, under threat of physical and verbal abuse. If they refused, the underage victims were told they had the devil in them and risked eternal damnation, per the DOJ’s indictment.
Quiboloy and his administrators told the victims that “night duty” was “God’s will” and a privilege and was a chance for the girl to prove her commitment to Quiboloy, US authorities said.
Prosecutors added that Quiboloy would reward pastorals with trips to Disneyland, private jet flights, the use of cell phones, and yearly stipends that were called “honorariums.”
US authorities also accused Quiboloy of fraudulently securing visas for church workers under the false pretense that they were entering the US to participate in church-related concerts and religious activities.
Instead they were given jobs soliciting cash for Quiboloy’s organisation, prosecutors said, and were sometimes forced into faux marriages with other workers who obtained US citizenship.
Quiboloy, a close ally and friend of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, is believed to be residing in Davao, The Philippines, the prosecutors’ statement read.
Duterte treats Quiboloy as a spiritual adviser, and asked him in June to redeem his soul from the devil, reported local outlet The Inquirer, so he could “mortgage” it to fight crime in his war on drugs.
A representative for Duterte said the leader would speak on the controversy surrounding Quiboloy soon, but did not specify when this would happen, per The Inquirer.
“The government has been constant in its efforts against trafficking in general especially sex trafficking,” the spokesperson added.