So-Called Visionary in Trouble for Conning Woman

WOAI, USA/May 22, 2007
By Manid Johnston

He's been called the leader of a cult in Costa Rica and many of his Catholic followers are from right here in San Antonio. Some disobeyed an order by the Archdiocese to stay away from the man who claims to see visions of the Virgin Mary.

Now, a fight with one of his former followers could send him to jail. News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooter Brian Collister has the latest developments to his investigation.

It's because of former follower Alicia Trevino that Juan Pablo Delgado could be headed to prison. Trevino made headlines in Costa Rica in 2005 when she sued Delgado. She just recently won her court fight.

"The lawsuit is because he attacked me," explained Trevino.

It all started when Delgado wanted money, claiming the Virgin Mary told him that Trevino had to pay for a sin. She said he showed up at her house inside the cult compound in Costa Rica to collect the cash. Delgado then began smashing her windows with rocks while other followers stood by and did nothing, she claimed. She escaped back to San Antonio and Delgado moved into her house.

"He's yelling, 'open the door,' and he said, 'I'm not leaving until you give me that money,' and he's saying, 'You thief! You witch!'" recalled Trevino.

A Costa Rican court recently found Delgado guilty of conning Trevino out of her money and illegally taking her home inside the compound. He was sentenced to three years in prison. The court gave him four years probation. If he violates the terms of his probation, he'll go to prison.

The Trouble Shooters first investigated Delgado back in 2005, when cult members became violent by grabbing our camera and chasing us off their property. One follower even threatened us with a hammer. We only caught a glimpse of Juan Pablo as he arrived at the compound.

"For a while, he had made himself king. Well, now he thinks he's God," said Trevino.

Delgado claims to perform miracles such as bloody wounds on his hands and feet, Christ-like wounds when Jesus was nailed to the cross. His critics claim it's all an act, and that he is really a violent con-artist interested only in taking his followers' money.

"Don't waste your time over there because it is a big hoax. It's a big scam, and if you've got dollars, you're the most beautiful person that he would like to see over there." warned Trevino.

The cult has been flooded with media attention since the arrival a few years ago of former San Antonio priest, Father Alfredo Prado. He's accused of molesting young boys more than 30 years ago at St. Timothy's on the West side.

The Trouble Shooters tracked him down in Costa Rica in 2005 to ask him about the allegations. Father Prado told us the claims are all false.

Prado said he was spiritually called to Costa Rica to be Delgado's advisor. Prado is still at the compound.

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