‘John of God,’ Oprah’s ‘Faith Healer,’ Faces A 370 Year Prison Sentence

Brazilian medium Joao de Deus (John of God) (R) sees a patient, at his "Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola" (House of Don Ignacio de Loyola), in Abadiania, 120km southwest of Brasilia, state of Goias, on April 4, 2012. Hundreds of people visit the house founded in 1978 by popular faith healer Joao Teixeira, better known as Joao de Deus, seeking cures for illnesses. AFP PHOTO/Pedro LADEIRA (Photo credit should read PEDRO LADEIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
Brazilian medium Joao de Deus (John of God) (R) sees a patient, at his “Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola” (House of Don Ignacio de Loyola), in Abadiania, 120km southwest of Brasilia, state of Goias, on April 4, 2012. (PEDRO LADEIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
3:58 PM – Friday, July 14, 2023

The Brazilian self-identified spiritual healer who rose to fame after appearing on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show went on trial for rape and sexual abuse. During the trial, he received more years behind bars.


Numerous women have accused João Teixeira de Faria, sometimes known as ‘John of God,’ of assaulting them sexually while they were receiving spiritual counseling and treatment. This led to police finally making his arrest in December of 2018.

When he was first convicted, all of his multiple sentences were added up and his time behind bars resulted to 270 years and four months.

After almost five years since his arrest, ‘John of God’ was found guilty on Monday, and charged with an additional sentence of 99 years. This brought up his prison time to 370 years, 9 months and 15 days. 

Faria’s fame began when he opened a ‘clinic’ called Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola in the late 1970s in Brazil. In this ‘clinic’ he provided a variety of services, from spiritual healing to what seemed to be surgical procedures without anesthesia. He claimed to his clients that he had supernatural powers.

Although he did not have a medical license or any related training, he performed treatments like nasal probing, body incisions, and eye scrapings without anesthesia. His clinic developed into a popular destination for tourists, making a sizable profit from add-on offerings like crystal bed treatments, blessed water, and herbal supplements. These pills, which were eventually discovered to be passionflower herbs, generated him an estimated $40 million in income per year on their own.

In 2010, Oprah Winfrey, who is well-known for her powerful platform, once devoted an episode of her show to ‘John of God,’ extending his influence and endorsing him in the eyes of her millions of followers. His reputation as a trusted spiritual leader was further solidified by Winfrey’s 2012 trip to Brazil to record an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter.

Nonetheless, a dark truth was hidden underneath the façade of health and spirituality.

More than 300 women, including his own daughter, bravely came forward in 2018 to tell their traumatic experiences of sexual assault at the hands of the man they had believed would help them through their suffering.

Even Faria’s own daughter spoke about the horrific rape and abuse she endured at the hands of her father. According to many, he offered to heal them but instead preyed on their weakness, subjecting them to heinous acts of sexual assault and violation.

It is significant to highlight that this alleged spiritual healer is facing numerous horrifying accusations, not just those of sexual assault. The assertion that ‘John of God’ allegedly ran a baby trafficking operation, selling children to childless families, has come to light amid the barrage of accusations. 

Over 600 rape and sexual exploitation allegations have been lodged against Faria. Additionally, he was charged for keeping adolescent girls as sex slaves, forcing them to become pregnant and give birth, and then selling the children to the “highest bidder.”

Following the controversy, Winfrey expressed sympathy for the victims’ families and her desire for justice to be served.

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