A Philippine-based church forced girls as young as 12 to have sex with its 71-year-old leader, and used a phony US nonprofit to pay for the lavish lifestyle of higher-ups, federal prosecutors said.
Nine leaders of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Church are now charged in the sordid long-running scheme, which centered on the forced labor and sexual assaults of the young victims, federal prosecutors in California said Thursday.
The victims ranged in age from 12 to 25 and were lured to the church’s US locations under false pretenses, then forced to raise money for administrators and serve as personal assistants, or “pastorals,” for the church’s elderly leader, Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, authorities allege.
They were forced into regular sexual encounters with Quiboloy — known as “night duty” — and warned they would face “eternal damnation” and risked punishment if they refused, the indictment says.
More compliant girls were rewarded with good food, luxurious hotel rooms, visits to popular tourists sites, and regular cash payments, federal prosecutors said.
“Defendant Quiboloy and other KOJC administrators told pastorals that performing ‘night duty’ was “God’s will’ and a privilege, as well as a necessary demonstration of the pastoral’s commitment to give her body to defendant Quiboloy as ‘The Appointed Son of God,’” the 42-count superseding indictment said.
Prosecutors said the scheme began in 2002, with victims lured to the church’s LA-based offices with fraudulent visas, then forced to meet daily fundraising quotas by soliciting donations to a bogus California nonprofit, the Children’s Joy Foundation.
Those more successful at raising money for the church were forced into sham marriages with church members or rewarded with phony student visas so they could remain in the US and continue soliciting money for the leaders.
The US Attorneys Office in the Central District of California initially filed an indictment in the case last year, naming three church leaders based in the Golden State.
On Nov. 10, the superseding indictment named six more church higher-ups.