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Naasón Joaquín García, La Luz del Mundo church leader, sentenced to 16 years in LA prison pleading guilty to sexual abuse of teens

LOS ANGELES – Church leader La Luz del Mundo has been sentenced to 16 years and eight months in a California jail for sexually abusing three girls.

Naasón Joaquín García was sentenced Wednesday in the Los Angeles Supreme Court after pleading guilty to three felonies on the eve of a long-awaited trial.

Naasón Joaquín García, 53, who is considered the “apostle” of Jesus Christ by his 5 million followers worldwide, had fought hard against allegations of child rape until he suddenly accepted an agreement to stay on trial. .

Church leader La Luz del Mundo pleaded guilty in Los Angeles Supreme Court on Friday to two counts of violent oral sex involving minors and one count of indecent exposure to a 15-year-old boy.

Prosecutors said he used his spiritual influence to have sex with several female followers and was helped by others in the church who facilitated the abuse.

The leader of the church’s youth group, Alondra Ocampo, who had previously pleaded guilty to abusing girls, was accused of directing teenagers in pinched uniforms to play “flirtatious” dances for García.

He also conducted nude photos of Garcia in which the girls touched each other, according to the accusations.

Okambo told the girls that if they rejected the wishes and desires of the “apostle”, they would go against God, according to the accusations.

Garthia told the girls after they danced for him that a king could have mistresses and that “an apostle of God can never be judged for his deeds,” according to the charges against him.

Okambo was ready to testify against him, said Fred Tiagaraya’s lawyer.

“He was actively recruiting and caring for girls,” Tiagaraya said. “He was targeting girls and bringing them inside. “He had a duty to sexualize these girls and to facilitate their abuse.”

Garcia was scheduled to stand trial on Monday on 19 counts, including charges of trafficking in child pornography.

READ MORE: Mexican church leader pleads guilty in Los Angeles to sexually abusing three girls, prosecutors say

A judge had dismissed four counts of extortion and sentencing for grievous bodily harm for lack of evidence.

Another woman co-accused who was a member of the church, Susanna Medina Oaxaca, 27, pleaded guilty Friday to assault that could have caused serious bodily harm, misdemeanor.

Defense attorneys had argued that prosecutors were acting on the basis of a derogatory legal theory that Garcia was using spiritual coercion for sexual pleasure.

“It’s a fantasy that’s seemingly made up of a whole fabric,” defense attorney Alan Jackson wrote in a court statement.

But prosecutors said the victims had been brainwashed by Garcia and felt they would be expelled from the island ecclesiastical community if they did not obey his wishes.

Rejecting a defense motion to dismiss the case, a judge said Garcia used religion as “invisible handcuffs” to exploit his victims.

Garcίαa’s grandfather founded the fundamentalist Christian church based in Guadalajara – known by its English name, The Light of the World – in 1926.

Garcia took over as “apostle” after the death of his father, Samuel Joaquin Flores, in 2014.

Flores was also charged with child sexual abuse in 1997, but Mexican authorities never prosecuted him.

The church has sought to cultivate a law-abiding, working-class image in Mexico, which has an estimated 1.8 million followers. Male members prefer suits and short hair, and female members wear veils that cover their hair and simple dresses.

There are about 1 million US members.

The video on the media player is from previous history

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Naasón Joaquín García, La Luz del Mundo church leader, sentenced to 16 years in LA prison pleading guilty to sexual abuse of teens Source link Naasón Joaquín García, La Luz del Mundo church leader, sentenced to 16 years in LA prison pleading guilty to sexual abuse of teens

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