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Olde Tyme Religion
Leader of La Luz del Mundo charged with child rape
2019-06-05
[FoxNews] The leader and self-proclaimed apostle of La Luz del Mundo, a Mexico-based church with branches in the U.S. that claims over 1 million followers, has been charged with human trafficking and child rape, California officials announced Tuesday.

Joaquín García and a follower of the church, 24-year-old Susana Medina Oaxaca, were arrested Monday after landing at Los Angeles International Airport, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office said.

Around 1,000 worshippers gathered at the headquarters of La Luz del Mundo in Guadalajara, Jalisco, on Tuesday evening to pray for García as he was held in Los Angeles on $25 million bail.

García, 50, faces 26 counts of felony charges that range from human trafficking and production of child pornography to rape of a minor. The charges detail a series of disturbing allegations involving three girls and one woman between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County.

The fundamentalist Christian church, whose name translates to The Light of the World, was founded in 1926 by García's grandfather. It has been the subject of child sex abuse allegations for years but authorities in Mexico have never filed criminal charges. It has more than 15,000 churches in 58 countries, according to its website. The church's followers must adhere to a strict moral code in exchange for the promise of eternal salvation.

García — who was a minister in Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California before becoming the church's leader — coerced the victims into performing sex acts by telling them that refusing would be going against God, authorities said. He allegedly forced the victims, who were members of the church, to sexually touch themselves and each other. One of his co-defendants also allegedly took nude photographs of the victims and sent the pictures to García.

The attorney general's investigation began in 2018, prompted in part by a tip to the state's Department of Justice through an online clergy abuse complaint form.

A third follower, Alondra Ocampo, 36, was arrested in Los Angeles County and is being held ahead of her arraignment Wednesday in Los Angeles. A fourth defendant, Azalea Rangel Melendez, remains at large.
Posted by:Skidmark

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