A Brazilian faith healer once celebrated by the Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, and Sanjay Gupta has been sentenced to another 99 years behind bars for sex crimes he committed against women and girls, some as young as 14.
João Teixeira de Faria, known to English-speaking audiences as John of God, received another 99 years in prison for sex crimes, and is now sentenced to more than 300 years in total. Brazilian news outlet Globo reported that de Faria’s latest crimes involved acts committed between 2010 and 2018 against 8 victims.
The faith healer was also ordered to pay R$100,000 to his victims. It’s unclear just how many victims there are, however, as since 12 women initially put forward accusations in 2018, more than 200 complaints were rapidly received from across Brazil, and two were received from foreign countries.
As the media focused on the story, more than 600 accusations ultimately surfaced against de Faria from alleged victims that were as young as 14 years old. The rapes occurred from 1986 to 2017.
Before the accusations went public, John of God was celebrated on American television for his purported ability to do surgeries with psychoactive abilities.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a medical expert who became well known for appearances on CNN to discuss the Covid-19 epidemic, and who was once threatened with litigation by podcaster Joe Rogan over his claims about Rogan’s use of unorthodox Covid-19 treatments, profiled John of God in 2010.
“A lot of people claim that these types of things that John of God are doing is just quackery, just sleight of hand,” Gupta pressed a guest, who admitted that “some is sleight of hand” but “some cannot be explained by sleight of hand and insisted, “I have come to believe, somewhat reluctantly” that John of God’s powers are real.
“I find it intriguing,” said Gupta, allowing his guest to conjecture about the future of energy healing, before warning about John of God potentially offering false hope.
Winfrey first profiled John of God in 2010, and later traveled to Brazil in 2013 to meet with the faith healer and witness one of his surgeries. Winfrey seemed impressed by John of God’s healing powers, saying “What I just witnessed almost made me pass out” in a now-deleted video that was covered by HuffPost. After John of God said she was “receiving a lot of energy,” Winfrey replied that she “felt like I was going to explode” and “felt like there was so much heat” in the room.
She would later remove all reference to John of God from her website, and issue a statement sympathizing with the victims, saying she hopes “justice is served” and has “empathy for the women coming forward.”
Anderson Cooper and CNN appear to have purged mentions of John of God as well, but an archived blog post for “Anderson Cooper 360” – originally attributed to Oprah’s website – profiled the disgraced faith healer in 2010:
Here at the end of the Avenida Francisca Teixeira Damas, just before the pavement turns to rich red dirt and the road dips down into a valley of mango and avocado trees, in an immaculate compound of open-air buildings called the Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola—John of God has attended millions of people, including many who have heard their doctors say these chilling words: “There is nothing more we can do.” And somehow, after visits to the Casa and audiences with this man, after following the spiritual prescriptions they received here, some of these people managed to do the unexpected: They lived. Fully healed.