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Preacher with Fake Cancer Dodges Legal Charges For Now

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By Elena Garcia, Christian Post Reporter
September 15, 2008|6:11 pm

The Australian pentecostal preacher who faked cancer to hide his long-standing addiction to porn will unlikely face legal charges for soliciting donations under the false cause.

According to The Adelaide Advertiser, South Australian police are finalizing investigations without making any charges against Michael Guglielmucci, who admitted his colossal deception on an Australian news channel last month.

Friends of Guglielmucci had set up a now-defunct Facebook site, "Praying Together for Mike Guglielmucci cancer cause," asking for donations.

The police has tracked the money but will stop short of pressing legal action since no one has yet to make formal complaints either to the South Australian police or the police interstate, the Australian paper reported.

Guglielmucci is currently in the hospital receiving psychiatric care for his addiction. His elaborate lie spanned two years, during which he lied to family, friends and even members of Hillsong Church.

Before the scandal erupted, Guglielmucci was known as a former youth pastor at Planetshakers City Church in Melbourne. The church is a Pentecostal Christian church affiliated with Australian Christian Churches, the Assemblies of God in Australia. His parents founded Edge Church International, also an Assemblies of God church.

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In October 2006, he told his family and congregation that he was suffering an “aggressive” form of terminal blood cancer and multiple secondary cancers.

He claimed that it was the terminal illness that inspired him to write "Healer," which became a hit song earlier this year and is featured on Sydney Hillsong Church's latest album, This is Our God. The album released last month.

At one point, Guglielmucci took his elaborate hoax on stage as he wore an oxygen mask while he performed the song.

Hillsong said it was "obviously shocked" to learn of Guglielmucci's confession and will be taking steps to modify the DVD and CD.

"Because of the visual nature of the DVD, we are removing all footage of Michael and are planning to replace current stock with the re-mastered DVD shortly," said Hillsong in a note on its Web site.

"With regard to the CD, we are working with our distributors and retailers to assess what further action is required."

Brian Houston, pastor at Hillsong Church, also admitted to being "sucked in" to the hoax on his blog earlier this month.

"It was a two year academy award worthy performance as far as I am concerned," he wrote.

But Houston said he never saw a reason to doubt Guglielmucci, who exhibited physical signs of pain during one of Houston's visits to his hotel room.

On his blog, dated Sept. 3, the Hillsong pastor concluded by affirming his faith in Jesus Christ and praying for people who have been hurt by the false story.

Guglielmucci's wife, the first to hear her husband's confession, has told The Advertiser that she would undergo counseling to try to salvage her marriage.

 

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