A few days after prosecutors in Los Angeles, California, filed sex trafficking charges against preacher Apollo Quiboloy and other officials of his Davao City-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) organization, some former followers spoke with Rappler to bare their ordeal.
Arlene Caminong Stone, now based in Minnesota, USA, was a former teen-aged pastoral who provided domestic services for Quiboloy and his spiritual wives in the church’s Davao City headquarters. Reynita Fernandez, now based in Singapore, became a full-time fund-raiser at 14 years old. Faith Killion was a member since her teen years and later worked for Quiboloy’s media outfits.
They are part of a network of survivors speaking out about how they experienced abuse inside KOJC.
Parts of their narrative mirror details in the 74-page indictment against Quiboloy, who calls himself the “appointed son of God.”
Honolulu-based lawyer Michael Jay Green, the head of Quiboloy’s legal team in the United States, called the indictment contents “all a bunch of nonsense” meant to bring the religious leader down. He said those who gave money to the church, or those who worked long hours asking for donations, did it for charity.
Green blamed Nepalese Shishir Bhandari, the former operations manager of the pastor’s Davao City-based airline company, Apollo Air, for “infecting” other ex-followers and convincing them to tell “lies.”
Stone spoke of being whipped by Quiboloy himself. She and Fernandez bared how a group of male members screamed as ministers rubbed chili peppers on their eyes and genitals.
All three women endured long hours on the streets as minors soliciting funds for a network of charities linked to Quiboloy’s church. They were also told to drop out of school to focus on serving Quiboloy.
Stone shared her servitude and the secrecy surrounding pastoral work, which US prosecutors allege is a front for sex trafficking.
Quiboloy’s church takes pride in helping the poor. But the three survivors exposed how they and other members were exploited. They struggled to meet high fund-raising quotas and non-stop demands for contributions.
They showed how the church ignored and discarded the needs of ailing members.
In contrast, Quiboloy, his spiritual wives, and trusted lieutenants enjoyed a pampered lifestyle. In the case of the founder, that allegedly included having a bevy of women to fulfill his sexual needs.
Growing up in an atmosphere that demanded total obedience exposed Stone, Fernandez, and Killion to years of trauma. Leaving also brought a different set of dangers. The mix of indoctrination, and cycles of reward and punishment, meant a protracted process of breaking free.
The ex-followers continue to struggle with emotional and psychological baggage from their time as members, but they have expressed determination in their work with other survivors. Their goal: to shed light on the dark secrets of Quiboloy’s church.
In this way, they hope to persuade other fellow sufferers to seek freedom and dissuade young souls from joining KOJC and experiencing their pain. – Rappler.com
Read the other stories in this series:
- THE CASE VS QUIBOLOY | Years of alleged abuse, fraud catch up with Davao preacher
- Quiboloy sexually abused women, minors – ex-followers, US prosecutors
- ‘Root of all evil’: Quiboloy church’s demands for money mire followers in debt
- Stolen lives, lost identities: Quiboloy’s ex-followers traumatized for years
- ‘All a bunch of nonsense,’ says lawyer of accusations against Quiboloy