Joao Teixeira de Faria, celebrity faith healer, hands himself in after sexual abuse complaints
Spiritual healer Joao Teixeira de Faria, also known as John of God, arrives at a spiritual healing centre in Brazil. (Supplied: Agencia Brasil)
A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing more than 300 women has turned himself in to authorities in Brazil after spending almost a day as a fugitive, police say.
Joao Teixeira de Faria, known as “John of God”, had been given until 3:00pm on Saturday to comply with an arrest warrant, but he did not surrender by the deadline and was deemed a fugitive from justice, officials said.
He surrendered on Sunday afternoon on the outskirts of Abadiania, a city in the central state of Goias, a police officer said.
According to a video released by the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Mr de Faria said: “I surrender to divine justice and justice on Earth.”
Mr de Faria, 76, was to spend the night at the State Delegation of Criminal Investigations in the state capital.
He was a faith healer for four decades in a small town in central Brazil and became famous for conducting “psychic surgeries” that he said could cure diseases, including cancer.
The self-styled spiritual healer uses scissors to perform a spiritual surgery on a woman’s nose. (Supplied: Agencia Brasil)
The allegations against Mr de Faria first surfaced last week, with several individuals going on a Globo Television show to recount charges that he had been sexually violent with them or relatives.
After that, authorities were contacted by more than 300 other accusers, including Mr de Faria’s adult daughter, Dalva Teixeira.
In an interview published on Friday by Brazilian magazine Veja, Ms Teixeira said that under the pretence of mystical treatments, Mr de Faria abused and raped her between the ages of 10 and 14.
She said her father stopped after she became pregnant by one of his employees.
Ms Teixeira said she was beaten so severely by her father that she suffered a miscarriage.
“My father is a monster,” she said.
Representatives for the law office representing Mr de Faria said they were not making statements on the case.
Mr de Faria attracted followers from around the world, all looking for spiritual guidance or cures for afflictions.
He gained international exposure in 2012 when Oprah Winfrey visited his retreat to interview him for her talk show.
In a since-deleted column on oprah.com, Ms Winfrey wrote that she was overwhelmed by the experience of seeing him cut into the breast of a woman without anaesthesia and that she left feeling “an overwhelming sense of peace”.