MEXICO CITY (AFP) - A sect named Defenders of Christ that was broken up in Mexico last month forced women to participate in orgies, discouraged baths and made people eat raw animal organs, the wife of a cult leader said on Tuesday.
Mexican immigration authorities raided the sex-driven sect's house in the northern state of Nuevo Laredo on Jan 25, rounding up 14 foreigners, including its Spanish leader Ignacio Gonzalez de Arriba, and 10 Mexicans.
Gonzalez de Arriba saw himself as the reincarnation of Christ and used the Internet to recruit adherents, offering classes on "bio-programming", alternative health care, psychic powers and sexuality, according to the Victim Support Network, which helps people who flee sects.
"They broke you down, making you even doubt your own name," Ms Blanca Castro, who was married to a Venezuelan leader of the Defenders of Christ, told a news conference. "They made me eat raw animal organs. And you know what? When you're starving you'll eat anything."
She added that sect leaders told followers that hygiene was a waste of time.
Ms Castro, who married Losanger Jose Arenas Segovia in 2009, said she was raped, forced into group sex sessions, locked up and roughed up. She lived with the sect for 10 months in 2010 until she escaped and made her way to Peru.
Gonzalez de Arriba is being investigated over allegation that minors were forced to participate in sexual acts.
The Argentina-based Victim Support Network said that the sect was present in 80 countries, with 4,000 victims in Mexico and 10,000 in the rest of the world.
The Internet classes began in 2004, charging people between US$1,300 (S$1,600) and US$130,000, the network said. Those willing to shell out the maximum fee secured the title of "apostle of Christ" within the sect, whose estate in northern Mexico was dubbed "The Monastery." Once there, they were tasked with recruiting new followers.
"I saw them arriving from Chile, Bolivia, Spain, with suitcases and the money that was demanded in cash," Ms Castro said, showing copies of e-mails from sect leaders telling how much the victims had to pay.
The sect's followers were treated with cruelty, including humiliation and psychological torture, the network said.