Cristian Robles, 32, faces charges of performing sexual actions on at least five people, both male and female, ranging in age from 20 to 39 years old.
New York Police Department sources tell ABC News that Robles would claim that “the spirits of various saints would inhibit his body and interact with the victims through him,” Adding that “he performed spiritual rituals.”
During his court hearing, Robles’ attorney Michael Raskin maintained that his client is innocent.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Raskin said, according to The Daily News. “He’s not guilty. He maintained his innocence. Once this evidence sees the courtroom, there will be no doubt about it.”
Robles, who called himself a “spiritualist,” would make his victims drink an unknown liquid and then sexually assault them, the police sources said. He then allegedly menaced the victims with knives after the assaults, the police said.
According to the criminal complaint, Robles faces eight charges, including four relating to criminal sexual acts and abuse, as well as a charge of purporting a scheme to defraud an individual, forcible touching, weapon possession and menacing in the second degree. The final charge is for fortune telling, which is defined as the action of an individual who "claim[s] or pretend[s] to tell fortunes, or hold himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on personal matters or to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses."
One of the male victims told police that after drinking an oil provided by the suspect, his body trembled and felt weak. The suspect then allegedly cut the victim’s clothes off with a knife and sexually assaulted him, police said.
A different male victim told police that he met with Robles three times, and on the first visit they reportedly did a so-called cleansing ritual involving burning a pendant and a grim reaper. On the second visit, the victim claimed he was sexually assaulted. He said he refused to drink the liquid on the third visit.
The victim told police that Robles wanted him to drink the liquid so saints could enter his body. The victim would then be able to have sex with these saints via Robles, he told police.
According to police, his prior arrests include fraud, petty larceny and grand larceny, and police are reportedly investigating whether he could have run a similar scheme in other states.
He has three children under the age of 10 years old, who are now in the custody of children's services, police sources said.
Bail was set at $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash and his next court appearance is scheduled for May 15.