BY MITCH WEISS
SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — An evangelical North Carolina sect that is the focus of an ongoing Associated Press investigation has issued a statement denying former members’ allegations that they were brought to the U.S. from congregations in Brazil and forced to work for little or no pay.
The statement, issued by Word of Faith Fellowship attorney Josh Farmer, comes a week after the AP published reports about what dozens of former members described as a human pipeline from two churches in Brazil to the sect’s headquarters in rural Spindale, North Carolina.
“We are appalled to learn of the allegations published by the Associated Press regarding foreign members of our church being ‘enslaved,'” the statement read. “Many of these allegations are obviously preposterous on their face and they are all false. It is ludicrous that people now claim they were in an abusive environment at our church but admit that they traveled from Brazil to the United States many different times, returning repeatedly to their place of alleged enslavement.”
Word of Faith Fellowship and both churches in Brazil had not responded to numerous requests for comment before publication of the AP’s stories.
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