Monday, December 6, 2021

Philippine Church leader indicted for forced sex

Federal authorities have accused the leader of the Philippine Church of trafficking girls and young women for sex and overseeing a scheme that sent many of his followers to the United States, where they coerced donations to fund his wealthy lifestyle, according to an indictment released Thursday. …

The indictment, returned last week by a Los Angeles grand jury, expands on a case originally filed in 2020 against three officials from the Davao Church in the Philippines, entitled “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, a name above every name.”

The initial indictment accused the church and its leader – unnamed in the document – of forcing their followers to collect money by begging on the streets of the United States, of committing immigration fraud to ensure lawyers can stay in the country, and of redirecting “donations” to the Philippines … where the church leader is reportedly driving a Bentley, Mercedes and a bulletproof Cadillac and building a stadium.

The new indictment, expanding the accusations against parishioners forced to collect donations on the street, explicitly accuses its leader, Apollo Carreon Quibola, of trafficking minors and young women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Kiboloy and other Church administrators hired “shepherds” – girls and women between the ages of 12 and 25 – as his personal assistants, preparing his meals, cleaning his houses, and traveling with him to the United States. According to the indictment, the pastorals were also required to do what was called “night watch” – having sex with Qibola, which the girls and young women were told was “God’s will.”

In the indictment, the prosecutor’s office identified several underage victims, aged 14, 15, 17, who were allegedly ordered by church officials to have sex with Kibola. He and other church leaders told the pastors to write “letters of commitment,” in which they brought their lives and bodies to Kiboloi, who is known to his followers as the “Appointed Son of God,” the indictment says.

During sex with a shepherd in 2008, Kibola told her it was “the will of the Father,” and “the Father was pleased with what the Son was doing,” the indictment says.

The girls and young women who agreed were rewarded with travel to Disneyland and other tourist destinations, private jet flights, cell phones, and payments that church officials called “royalties” – benefits funded from donations requested by parishioners in the United States, prosecutors say. …

According to the indictment, those who resisted were threatened with “eternal damnation” and were persecuted, threatened and wrongly accused of a crime. Prosecutors accuse Kiboloy of sending a church official to falsely accuse a woman of sexual assault after she left the church; Qiboloy allegedly raped a woman 10 years ago when she was 17 years old. In his sermon, broadcast to his followers, Kiboloy accused the former pastors of cybersex and stealing church property, which is an indictment.

It is impossible to immediately determine whether Kiboloy, who lives primarily in Davao City but lived in Calabasas, Las Vegas and Capolei, Hawaii, had a lawyer who could act on his behalf. A lawyer representing the church in the Philippines previously said the US authorities were deceived by embittered former church members who lied to FBI agents and prosecutors in an attempt to drag the church and its leader “into a quagmire of blatant humiliation.” and win. “

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The indictment also describes how Kiboloy and other leaders used the church as a fundraiser, imposing daily quotas for parishioners who collected “donations” in the United States. These followers, referred to in the church as “full-time miracle workers,” told immigration officials that they were traveling to the United States to perform at church concerts. In truth, the indictment says they were little more than beggars begging on the street “almost every day, all year round, working very long hours and often spending nights in cars, with no normal access to over-the-counter drugs, and sometimes clothes are enough. “

Church officials confiscated passports and other immigration documents belonging to the Full-Time Miracle Workers, who usually slept at the Vannoven Street complex in Van Nuys or other church premises. Daily quotas were set for lawyers; Because food, lodging, or medical expenses were deducted from quotas, many skipped meals or slept in their cars.

The indictment says church administrators arranged fake marriages and received fake student visas that allowed “full-time miracle workers” to apply for legal residency or citizenship, ensuring they could stay in the country and continue to raise money …

Lawyers told the public that any donations would go to poor Filipino children. In truth, prosecutors allege that church officials deposited funds in chunks of up to $ 10,000 to evade reporting requirements and transferred the money to the Philippines, where it was used to fund Qiboloy’s luxurious lifestyle and finance the construction of the Royal home of KJC “. … “Prosecutors charged that church officials also used the” donation “to pay off a $ 13,830 a month mortgage on a Calabasas mansion. In other cases, according to the indictment, administrators smuggled cash into the Philippines, carrying it in bulk on private jets, or ordering church officials to hide $ 9,000 in pairs of socks that they carried on commercial flights.

Along with Kibola, Teresita Tolibas Dandan, the international administrator of the church, is accused; Helen Panilag, who oversaw the church’s international finance; Felina Salinas, Church Administrator in Hawaii; Gia Kabaktulan, who oversaw the church in the United States; Marissa Duenas, Church Human Resource Leader; and Amanda Estopare and Betina Padilla Roses, who are described as monitoring the church’s fraudulent fundraising efforts and ensuring the flow of money to church leaders in the Philippines.

Authorities said they arrested 50-year-old Salinas and 48-year-old Roses on Thursday. Kabaktulan, 61, Duenas, 43, and Estopare, 50, were charged in the original indictment; they pleaded not guilty.

The new indictment also referred to Maria De Leon, a paralegal and notary public who owned a Los Angeles-based company called Liberty Legal Document Services, which allegedly processed fake marriage certificates and immigration documents that allowed church officials to remain in the United States.

De Leon, 72, was arrested Thursday at her home in Koreatown, authorities said. The rest of the defendants are not in US custody.

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