Megachurch Leader Once Again Charged With Child Rape

Charges against Naasón Joaquín García had been dropped in April
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2020 12:18 AM CDT
Megachurch Leader Once Again Charged With Child Rape
In this June 5, 2019, file photo, Naas?n Joaquin Garcia, the leader of fundamentalist Mexico-based church La Luz del Mundo, appears in Los Angeles County Superior Court.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

California on Wednesday charged the leader of a Mexican megachurch with child rape and human trafficking, months after a court dismissed the previous allegations because of prosecution errors, the AP reports. Naasón Joaquín García, the self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo, was charged with three dozen felony counts. Also charged were Susana Medina Oaxaca and Alondra Ocampo. Prosecutors contend the three committed sex crimes and also produced child pornography involving five women and girls who were church group members. The crimes took place between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County, authorities said. García is the spiritual leader of La Luz del Mundo, which is Spanish for “The Light Of The World.” The evangelical Christian church based in Guadalajara was founded by his grandfather and claims 5 million followers worldwide.

García and Ocampo already were being held in custody in Los Angeles County while prosecutors decided whether to refile charges; Oaxaca is free on bail. The refiled charges accuse García, who has previously denied wrongdoing, and Ocampo of committing a lewd act on a 15-year-old girl. García fondled the girl in his office, authorities said. The two also are accused of raping and committing forced oral copulation with a second girl. All three defendants are accused of committing forced oral copulation with a third girl. García was charged with raping two others. Ocampo took part in one rape, authorities said. Oaxaca is charged with two counts of committing forced and illegal copulation on a minor. Among other allegations, Ocampo is accused of having some church group members send explicit photos or pose for explicit photos that were intended for Garcia. A fourth defendant, Azalea Rangel Melendez, previously was charged with rape and forcible oral copulation and is a fugitive.

(More megachurches stories.)

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