Ex-Cult Members Describe Abuse by "Monster" Bentinho Massaro
UPDATE 4/21: Rolling Stone magazine has now published an expose on Bentinho Massaro’s recent abuses.
Be Scofield is the author of the new book Hunting Lucifer: One Reporter's Search for Cults and Demons. Her reporting is mentioned in the NYtimes, Rolling Stone, People and more.
February 23, 2022
“We experienced sexual, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial abuse,” writes a former follower of Bentinho Massaro named Jacqueline Graham. She’s one of several ex-cult members who have recently spoken out in a two-part podcast and on a new website designed to raise awareness about Massaro’s cult.
Bentinho Massaro was first exposed in my December 2017 article Tech Bro Guru that warned he was a dangerous and delusional cult leader who claimed to be able to teleport and change the weather. I had spent a month infiltrating his group in Sedona. Since then Massaro has been reported on by The Guardian, Playboy, VICE, Barcroft and other news outlets.
The disturbing cult abuse allegations from ex-followers against Bentinho Massaro include:
- forcing a woman to strip naked in front of the group
- taking nude photos of two women followers and posting them on Instagram without permission
- directing a woman to take her shirt off while in a public restaurant with a group
- screaming at and breaking down members
- coercing a large sum of money from a follower
- having sex with students
- putting members on “trial” in front of the group
- requiring members to sign $100,000 – $300,000 NDA’s
- severe psychological and emotional abuse and exploitation
- cult groupthink
- heavy gaslighting and manipulation
- breaking up relationships
- forced group confessions
- recording and monitoring phone calls
“Bentinho Massaro is a predator, hiding in the mask of a messiah and is a danger to the innocent people he sucks the life out of,” writes ex-member Jade Leblanc. She describes him as a “psychopath” and “monster.” Like others, she had to sign a $300,000 NDA to even meet him. “I wasn’t allowed to tell a soul where I was going,” she writes before she traveled internationally to join up with the group.
In an Instagram post Leblanc describes Massaro “screaming [at me] in a doorway as I cowered to the floor, eyes to the ground like an abused weak animal.”
Massaro previously was seen on video screaming “fuck you” repeatedly at a woman in the audience. “I can scream at you freely,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I want you all to know that the psychological and spiritual warfare that takes place behind closed doors and within Bentinho Massaro’s community is extremely dark and dangerous…[he] can not and should not be trusted,” Keilan McNeil writes on the new site exposing Massaro. He spent a significant amount of time living with and following Massaro.
Bentinho Massaro’s ex-girlfriend spoke out against his narcissistic abuse in September 2018, prior to these new allegations. She wrote that Massaro had told her she would get physically sick if she stayed with her boyfriend. “Ben told me that if I would leave [my boyfriend] and would be in a relationship with him (Bentinho), I would be able to expand into my ability to reach so many who needed exposure to ‘my essence’.” He manipulated her into breaking up with her boyfriend and she started dating Massaro.
Jade Leblanc told the podcast how Massaro forced her to strip naked in front of the group. “I want you to take off all your clothes,” he said to her. When she didn’t, he told her again more directly and she nervously complied. She holds back tears as she describes what happened in the podcast.
Leblanc said Massaro also took naked photos of her and follower Cory Katuna and posted them on his Instagram account without their permission.
Podcast excerpt: Jade Leblanc details when Bentinho Massaro forced her to strip in front of the group (trigger warning)
“When you stumble upon a point of view that feels good about someone else being raped, are you willing to accept that point of view?” Massaro once stated.
“If you didn’t follow him around, go to all of his appointments, or you skipped out on lunch or whatever he wanted to do you were gonna pay for that later,” Leblanc told the podcast.
The ex-cult members described an overall environment of manipulation, control, abuse and where followers would gang up on each other.
Massaro told Jacqueline Graham “take off your shirt” while out to dinner with a group of people she had just newly met. She said no and he told her again to take her shirt off. She refused again and Massaro told her, “Do you think I would ask you to do something that would hurt you?” She refused but he later manipulated her into believing that “divine love” would justify such an act of devotion.
Graham also describes how Massaro swindled her out of a large sum of money, “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” as deVolkskrant reported. It began by him heavily love bombing her. They started dating and after a month he told her he had an “epic download” about why they had met. “I feel like we’re a team and this divine union. I want to marry you,” he said to her. “But he was saying that the representation of this union would be us merging our bank accounts,” she told the podcast.
“He was saying that the representation of this union would be us merging our bank accounts.” – Jacqueline Graham
Massaro ended up convincing her to transfer a significant amount of money to him which he later told her he lost when investing it. As soon as he received the money his tactics changed. “I’m not feeling as attracted to you as I did before and I don’t know what it is,” he told her. “I think it’s because you’re not shifting fast enough, you’re not becoming enlightened.” She describes how this set her down a path of deep spiritual work and constant personal growth.
When I infiltrated Massaro’s cult in 2017 he had three girlfriends, all of whom were followers. The new revelations further confirm that Massaro is having sex with students and followers including longtime devotee Cory Katuna.
It was Katuna’s insistence that Massaro is the next Jesus that set off alarm bells for Keilan McNeil. “Future generations may remember Bentinho like we remember Gandhi or Mother Teresa,” Katuna wrote in a 2018 blog post that is filled with devotion.
He described Katuna as a “devil in a red dress,” because she’d sneakily get intel from followers and “run back to Bentinho and tell him everything.”
“I was such a shred of myself when I left…I was so traumatized I thought I would never want to speak out.” – Jacqueline Graham
After McNeil witnessed Massaro berating, laughing at and tearing down a woman he called him out to his face. “He was convinced I had a psychic attack and that my thoughts were not my own,” McNeil told the podcast. “And essentially the whole group came to this consensus that I was experiencing a visit from demonic entities that were trying to infiltrate my mind to sabotage the mission.”
The group’s “Bible” McNeil says is the channeled book “The Law of One” by Ra. There are two paths he says, the service to self entities and service to other entities. Service to self entities are evil, like a suppressive in Scientology or heretics. Members, including Leblanc and McNeil were told they had a service to self (STS) evil entity inside of them. She described profusely crying on the floor, freaking out about how to get the evil entity out of her.
In the podcast ex-members described “interrogation sessions,” “trials,” and group “distortion readings.” These were all methods where Massaro would point out flaws of followers and break them down in front of the group. It served to keep them on eggshells and constantly monitoring their thoughts.
“My heart never considered the option that I was in the hands of evil, and thus I shared openly and excitedly this ‘man of god’ who couldn’t be more closer to the devil.” – Jade Leblanc
The women coming forward, including his ex-girlfriend in 2018, all describe a similar pattern of being love bombed, manipulated, and abused in the name of personal transformation and for the sake of their relationship with Massaro or for the “mission.” They said he requires “full devotion.”
Curious spiritual seekers, some of who are traumatized, get caught up in Bentinho Massaro’s classic narcissistic cult deployment of love and terror to control his followers.
Brent Wilkins was one of those seekers. He became close with Massaro and a dedicated student. He was lost and searching for purpose. In 2018 he left Massaro’s retreat and jumped off a cliff in Sedona to his death.
“So wake up to something important otherwise kill yourself, cause there is no sense in living your life,” Massaro told an audience that Wilkins was a part of. “So make that agreement everyday that you either kill yourself or you dedicate yourself to something important.”
These new allegations from ex-cult members provide more evidence that Massaro’s manipulative, abusive and controlling tactics may have played a direct role in his suicide.
Bentinho Massaro responded to the latest efforts on his Instagram story proclaiming his “unorthodox and paradoxical” ways of teaching.
According to Keilan McNeil this is just the beginning of this latest effort to expose Massaro. More people are in the process of coming forward and speaking truth to power. “Bentinho your time is up,” Leblanc writes.
Listen to the podcast: A Little Bit Culty
Website exposing Massaro: The Mirror Effect