Brazilian exoneration of WoFF church known by AP

RUTHERFORDTON — While the Brazilian judge’s exoneration of Word of Faith Fellowship (WoFF) church’s charges was not widely reported, evidence shows Associated Press reporter Peter Prengaman in Brazil knew of the case’s disposition.

A copy of Prengaman’s message sent to minister Solange da Silva Granieri Oliveira, on Sept. 11, 2018, reveals that Prengaman was working on an article for the Word of Faith Fellowship-related Franco da Rocha Brazilian church. Prengaman also requested comments from the minister.

Prengaman’s message acknowledged knowledge of Substitute Labor Judge Ricardo Koga De Oliveira acquittal of all 4 defendants charged in the Word of Faith Fellowship (WoFF)-related Brazilian churches of slave labor and human trafficking on July 27, 2018.  The Public Ministry of Labor had filed a civil public action against the ministry, its schools, and its pastors. The defendants were:

  • Rhema Evangelical Community Ministry,
  • Rhema Christian School-Elementary, Junior High and High School,
  • Juarez de Souza Oliveira, and
  • Solange da Silva Granieri Oliveira.

The plaintiffs had claimed to be in an abusive environment at WoFF church but admit that they traveled from Brazil to the United States many different times. The Brazilian judge said there was “nothing to indicate the existence of work under analogous conditions to the conditions of slavery, none of its characteristics being present. On the contrary, witnesses brought by the Labor Ministry, revealing a typical ego-centrism of youth and an alienation of the conditions of life in the country, enjoyed wide freedom, in addition to economic and social conditions well above the national average.”

The judge also noted that the Associated Press spoke of the indemnification and suggested each victim could receive compensation. of an estimated R$500,000 in damages. This is the second time that monetary compensation in regards to possibly affecting testimony against the church has become an issue. WoFF-Spindale also posited the payment of “The Devil Next Door” participants as possibly influencing the testimonies.

The judgement stated that the defendant’s witnesses completely removed the allegation of similar conditions to slavery work, forced labor of minors or other accusations contained in the initial petition. The judge dismissed as unfounded the pleadings in question.

Considering all that was exposed, I ACCEPT the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction of the Labor court regarding the request to “dissolve the 1st and 2nd defendants for deviation of purpose,” rejecting all other motions and moreover, I dismiss as UNFOUNDED THE PUBLIC CIVIL MOTION proposed by the PUBLIC MINISTRY OF LABOR against the Evangelical Ministry Community Rhema, Rhema Christian School, Juarez de Souza Oliveira and Solange da Silva Granieri Oliveira, acquitting the defendants of all charges.

The case is under appeal.

We were unable to reach Prengaman for comment as to why his article on the Brazilian exoneration was not published.

Correction: The spelling of Prengaman’s name was corrected on January 19, 2019 at 7:20 p.m.