VAN NUYS (CBSLA) — The leader of a Philippines-based megachurch and “Appointed Son of God” and several top administrators has been charged in a sex trafficking operation that was supported by funds solicited by U.S. donors, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday.An expanded indictment charges 71-year-old Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, the leader and founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), The Name Above Every Name church, along with several of his Los Angeles-based administrators, with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion and the sex trafficking of children. KOJC claims to have millions of members in the Philippines and millions more in other countries.READ MORE: Hollywood Christmas Parade Makes Triumphant Return To Streets of LA
The superseding indictment unsealed Thursday accuses Quiboloy and two more administrators of recruiting females from ages 12 to 25 to work as personal assistants they called “pastorals,” who would cook and clean for him, give him massages, and have sex with him in what was called “night duty.” The indictment specifically mentions five female victims, three who were underage, who were recruited starting in 2002 through at least 2018.
“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 indictment alleged. Pastorals who balked at night duty were told “that they had the devil in them and risked eternal damnation,” according to the indictment, and those who tried to leave the church or were not able to perform night duty were threatened and physically abused by Quiboloy.
The pastorals who were deemed obedient were rewarded with “good food, luxurious hotel rooms, trips to tourist spots, and yearly cash payments that were based on performance,” all of which were paid for with money solicited by KOJC’s workers in the U.S.
Two more KOJC administrators were arrested Thursday – 48-year-old Bettina Padilla Roces, also known as “Kuki,” was arrested in Reseda for allegedly handling financial matters for the church, and 72-year-old Maria De Leon, the owner of Koreatown-based Liberty Legal Document Services, which prosecutors say processed fraudulent marriages and immigration related documents for KOJC workers.READ MORE: BTS Kicks Off Second Of 4 Shows At SoFi Stadium In Inglewood
Three of his Los Angeles-area administrators were charged in February of last year in connection with the megachurch’s Glendale-based non-profit called the Children’s Joy Foundation USA. Federal prosecutors say Guia Cabactulan, 61, was a U.S.-based administrator who operated the KOJC compound in Van Nuys; 43-year-old Marissa Duenas of Van Nuys handled fraudulent immigration documents for workers, and 50-year-old Amanda Estopare, also of Van Nuys, was charged with tracking and reporting the money raised in the U.S. to KOJC officials in the Philippines.
According to federal officials, the megachurch forced members who came to the U.S. to surrender their passports and work long hours soliciting donations for Children’s Joy Foundation that purportedly went toward impoverished children in the Philippines. The indictment unsealed last year alleges that most or all of the money raised by the non-profit went toward financing KOJC operations and the lavish lifestyle of church leaders. Those workers who proved productive were then forced to enter into sham marriages or obtain a fraudulent student visa so they could keep soliciting donations in the U.S. year-round, prosecutors said.
A search of the KOJC’s Van Nuys compound in January of 2020 found Cabactulan and Duenas in the possession of approximately 72 Filipino passports, seven U.S. passports, and one Ukranian passport belonging to other people, according to the indictment. Duenas was also found to have a file labeled “traitor” with information on members who fled the church, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors say Quiboloy retaliated against church members who managed to leave KOJC by alleging they had engaged in criminal conduct and sexually promiscuous activity in his sermons broadcasted around the world.
Quiboloy, 59-year-old Teresita Tolibas Dandan and 56-year-old Helen Panilag, two top KOJC administrators based in the Philippines, were each charged with sex trafficking conspiracy. The superseding indictment also outlines the church’s nationwide soliciting operations how it enabled forced labor, labor trafficking, document servitude, marriage fraud, and money laundering. Each of them are believed to be in the Philippines, but Quiboloy also has homes in Calabasas and Hawaii.MORE NEWS: Alhambra Ice-Cream Shop Victim Of Smash-And-Grab Burglary Early Saturday Morning
The investigation into KOJC is ongoing, and the FBI says there may be more potential victims. Anyone with information about KOJC or believes they are a victim can contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565 or through its website at fbi.gov/tips.