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Oprah’s faith healer get 99 years for raping 8 girls and women; allegedly 600 more victims

Oprah Winfrey backstage at the 75th Annual Golden Globes at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
July 14, 2023

João Teixeira de Faria, a popular Brazilian faith healer who was formerly touted by Oprah Winfrey, received a 99-year prison sentence Monday for multiple accounts of rape and sexual abuse.

According to Agencia Brasil, the sentence delivered by judge Marcos Boechat Lopes Filho is the result of charges regarding eight victims of sexual abuse during spiritual consultations with Faria between 210 and 2018 at Casa Dom Inácio de Loyola, in Abadiânia, Goiás. 

The Western Journal reported that Faria, known as “João de Deus” or “John of God,” gained international fame for his alleged faith healing abilities, garnering support and admiration from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, former President Bill Clinton, former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, actress Shirley MacLaine, and model Naomi Campbell.

In 2012, Winfrey visited Faria, recording an interview that aired in 2013. At the time of the interview, the poplar show host described Faria as “inspiring.”

After receiving international fame, Faria became entangled in scandals when over 300 women accused the Brazilian healer of sexual abuse in December of 2018. One year after the scandal was discovered, Faria was sentenced to prison for 19 years for the rape of four women.

Since Faria’s initial prison sentence, other sexual abuse cases have been brought against him. Monday’s 99-year sentence brings Faria’s total prison sentence to 370 years, nine months and 15 days, according to Metropoles.

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In response to Monday’s sentencing verdict, Ben Swann, founder and CEO of Sovren Media, tweeted, “Oprah’s spiritual healer has been sentenced to 99 years in prison after being found guilty of raping and abusing over 600 women and young girls.”

Swann added that Faria is also being accused of running a “baby trafficking operation where newborn children were sold to childless couples.”

According to The Daily Mail, Sabrina Bittencourt, an activist whose investigations helped lead to Faria’s arrest, claimed that Faria held young girls captive on “farms” where they were force to have babies that were sold to people in multiple continents.

“Hundreds of girls were enslaved over years, lived on farms in Goias, served as wombs to get pregnant, for their babies to be sold,” she said. “These girls were murdered after ten years of giving birth. We have got a number of testimonies.”