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Brazil police to investigate spiritual healer

FILE -In this Feb. 23, 2012 file photo, self-styled spiritual healer Joao Teixeira de Faria uses scissors to perform a spiritual surgery on Rosangela Maria Benedeti's nose at the "Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola" in Abadiania, Brazil. Police in Brazil say a special task force will investigate accusations by 10 women made on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, that they were sexually abused by Faria at his clinic in the central-western state of Goias. Faria has denied the accusations. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A special task force will investigate accusations by 10 women that they were sexually abused by a self-styled spiritual healer at his clinic in Brazil’s central-western state of Goias, police said Monday.

The accusations against Joao Teixeira de Faria, known as John of God, were made Saturday night on the Globo TV network.

The 10 women told O Globo they were molested at Faria’s clinic in the small town of Abadiania, where Faria has conducted faith healing sessions for more than 40 years.

The 76-year-old Faria has denied the accusations and his lawyer Alberto Toron said his client is willing to be questioned at any time by authorities.

TV host Oprah Winfrey interviewed Faria in 2013 and saw him performing psychic surgeries.

Zahira Leeneke, a Dutch choreographer, was the only one of the 10 women who agreed to have her identity revealed by the TV network.

She said he learned of Faria’s clinic when she saw Winfrey’ interviewing him in 2013.

She told O Globo that during a private session with Faria he forced her to masturbate him. In a second session, she added, he raped her inside a bathroom.

The Goias State Prosecutor’s Office also said it will also look into the accusations. Its press office told The Associated Press that since the accusations were aired, it has received a “considerable number of new sex abuse accusations against Faria.

He is also being investigated in a sex abuse case dating from 2012, though details weren’t available because the case is under seal.

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