Police say he's a male prostitute, but he calls himself a spiritual warrior and a healer.
"To be raided in my church...it's really sad to see what things have come down to," said 23-year-old Alex Averill.
Averill gets choked up when asked if he's a prostitute. He's behind bars, accused of selling himself for sex at the Phoenix Goddess Temple.
"I say people call me what you will, but at my church, I'm labeled a practitioner, at my church I'm labeled a shaman," he said.
Averill has been working for the Temple for a year. On Wednesday, Phoenix police raided the church, calling it a house of prostitution. So far, 33 people have been indicted, most of them are employees.
"No, I do not charge for sex, I work off donations, I work off of what people can leave me as offerings," he said.
Averill, who goes by the name Zander, admits to charging more than $200 for an hour session. He says he's devoted himself to healing people, including overweight women who need to feel loved. He says he's blessed hundreds.
"Sometimes, people just need to be hugged for an hour and a half, is there something incriminating about that?"
Averill says despite the charges against him, he'll continue to fight for his ministry.
"Til the day I'm dead and after that because my faith believes in eternal life."
After our story aired, several other inmates came forward saying they would like to speak out.
"We're being wrongfully imprisoned and we did nothing wrong," says Jamie Baker. "We are a church and it is a religion."
Holly Alsop says, "I think it's religious persecution plain and simple."
"There are many seekers who come who don't donate. They come and they get their healing and they leave and that's fine," says Amanda Twitty.
"I came to Arizona because I believe in the practice I believe in the separation of church and state. I'm mystified I can't believe that grand jury believes there enough evidence to have us here," says Alsop.
In exchange for speaking to us, the women asked us to bail them out. We said absolutely not, but they decided, their desire to defend their church was too strong to stay silent.
The investigation is continuing. More arrests could follow.
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