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Spiritual leader who sexually assaulted boys to ‘cleanse’ them jailed

|News, Sexual offences

A religious practitioner who sexually assaulted children under the guise of ‘spiritually cleansing' them has been jailed for five years.

Edilson Do Nascimento, 51, was a spiritual leader within the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, when he used his role as a healer to get close to and sexually assault two teenage boys. Candomblé is an oral tradition with no sacred scriptures.

In one incident Do Nascimento claimed he could help heal a 17-year-old boy’s father who had been suffering with leg pain following a surgery. Do Nascimento did this by carrying out a reiki treatment on the teenage victim rather than the father. During the treatment Do Nascimento sexually assaulted the boy. He told him the pain in his father’s knee would come back if he spoke out about the assault in October 2020.

In another incident Do Nascimento, who had only met his second victim the day before at a Halloween Party, saw the 13-year-old boy changing and went on to sexually assault him. During the assault Do Nascimento told the victim he was carrying out a religious cleansing.

Both assaults took place at his home in Tottenham. Do Nascimento was arrested at his then home address on 2 November 2020 after complaints were made to the police.

Following a trial at Wood Green Crown Court sitting at Hendon Nightingale Court, Do Nascimento was convicted of sexual activity with a child and sexual assault. On Wednesday, 18 August he was sentenced to five years in custody at the same court. He was also given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Melissa Garner, from the CPS, said: “Edilson Do Nascimento was a sexual predator who hid behind religious, spiritual and healing practices to carry out his attacks on unsuspecting victims.

“Neither of these young victims had consented to being sexually touched.     
                                                                                   
“During the trial Do Nascimento claimed the victims had misinterpreted his actions or lied. He said he had simply used a technique called hands-on healing, through which ‘universal energy’ could be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient to encourage physical or emotional healing. But the jury did not buy into these excuses and convicted him.

“I would like to highlight the bravery of these young victims for going to the police in difficult circumstances and supporting this prosecution. 

“Sexual crimes are some of the most serious and complex cases we prosecute. I hope this case reinforces the message that the CPS will always seek to prosecute sexual offenders where our legal tests are met.”

Notes to editors

  • Edilson Do Nascimento (DOB: 25/7/1970) is from East Ham in the London borough of Newham.
  • Melissa Garner is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit in CPS London North.

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