• Apollo Carreon Quiboloy was indicted on sex trafficking of children, bulk smuggling of cash and coercion, among other charges
  • The 71-year-old church leader from the Philippines allegedly forced several women to engage in sex with him, saying it was "God's will"
  • The DOJ pursued prosecution of Quiboloy as evidence and facts "support violations of U.S. criminal law"

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) pursued the prosecution of a Philippines-based preacher accused of child sex trafficking and fraud, among other offenses, as evidence and facts pointed to him violating U.S. criminal law.

Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, the leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC) church, was charged in November with participating in a conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force and sex trafficking of children. The 71-year-old also faced charges of bulk cash smuggling, coercion, conspiracy and fraud.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a wanted poster for Quiboloy last week, which the church leader's lawyer claimed was timed to interfere with the results of the upcoming national elections in the Philippines.

However, the DOJ denied the allegations and explained that the release of the poster was just the result of a "multi-year law enforcement effort.”

"The [DOJ] pursues prosecutions when the evidence and the facts support violations of U.S. criminal law and cause us to seek an indictment from the grand jury and the grand jury returns an indictment,” Nicole Navas Oxman, a senior communications advisor for the department, told newspaper The Philippine Star.

Quiboloy and his two co-defendants, KOJC officials Teresita Tolibas Dandan and Felina Salinas, were accused of recruiting females approximately between 12 and 25 years old to work as personal assistants or "pastorals" required to have sex with the church leader in what was called "night duty," according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

The pastorals were coerced into performing the night duty under threats of physical and verbal abuse, prosecutors alleged.

Additionally, victims who were hesitant to perform the night duty were allegedly told that "they had the devil in them and risked eternal damnation."

"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 DOJ said.

Victims who obeyed the orders were given "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 workers in the U.S.

Meanwhile, those who managed to escape KOJC allegedly "suffered retaliation in the form of threats, harassment and allegations of criminal misconduct," according to the indictment.

Among the recruited assistants were five female victims, three of whom were minors when the alleged sex trafficking began.

Aside from the aforementioned allegations, Quiboloy and eight co-defendants were accused of bringing church members to the U.S. with fraudulently obtained visas and "forced the members to solicit donations for a bogus charity — the Glendale-based Children's Joy Foundation," the DOJ said.

The donations to the church were allegedly "used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyles of its leaders."

The charges against Quiboloy, Dandan, Salinas and six other KOJC members were part of a superseding indictment that followed an earlier indictment from early 2020.

The earlier indictment accused KOJC members Guia Cabactulan, Marissa Duenas and Amanda Estopare of "overseeing a labor trafficking scheme that forced church members to solicit donations for a bogus charity after the defendants illegally obtained visas and other immigration documents that allowed the workers to enter and remain in the United States."

Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, 71, is wanted for Conspiracy to Engage in Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion, and Sex Trafficking of Children; Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, and Coercion; Conspiracy; Bulk Cash Smuggling. Federal Bureau of Investigation