A prominent Brazilian spiritual healer has been accused of sexual assault by more than 200 women. (Alexandre Salem Courtesy Thames & Hudson)

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Brazilian Spiritual Healer Accused by More than 200 Women of Sexual Abuse

It’s the country’s first major #MeToo scandal.

Brazilian spiritual healer and medium João Teixeira de Faria has been accused of abusing his power to sexually abuse more than 200 women.

The well-known figure, also known as João de Deus, or John of God, has had access to former Brazilian presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer, as well as pop stars and other celebrities during his tenure as a religious idol in the country, The Guardian reported.

But TV interviews broadcast in the country last week gave four women a platform to to reveal their claims of sexual abuse at his hands, opening up a floodgate of allegations from hundreds more over the past several days.

It’s the South American country’s first major #MeToo scandal to garner international attention.

Prosecutors established a task force on Monday to deal with the enormous number of accusations in the state of Goiás, where the alleged abuses took place, according to The Guardian. Some of the cases are “over 10 years old” while others, police say, are “more recent.”

Prosecutor Luciano Miranda told Brazilian TV that potential crimes included rape and sexual abuse that occurred in a private room where De Faria performed his spiritual services.

Mário Rosa, a spokesman for De Faria, said he denied the accusations.

“We declare his innocence,” Rosa said. We respect the right of the women to make these testimonies, but we do not recognize these testimonies as true.”

Read the full story at The Guardian