Mexican Megachurch Leader Detained To 17 Years In US Prison

On Wednesday, June 8, the leader of a Mexican megachurch, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three young girls, was sentenced in Los Angeles.

Naason Joaquin Garcia, leader and self-styled apostle of the Guadalajara-based church La Luz del Mundo (Light of the World) that claims about 5 million followers worldwide, last Friday pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible oral copulation involving minors and performing a lewd act on a child.

prosecutors said that he pressurize an underage girl into performing sexual acts by telling them that going against his wishes would be acting against God.

He was arrested at a Los Angeles airport in June 2019. An initial human trafficking and child rape case was thrown out on a technicality, and charges were re-filed.

On the eve of his trial, last Friday Gracia 53-year-old — who claims to be the last apostle of Jesus, and had initially denied all wrongdoing — pleaded guilty to felony crimes of sexual assault of three minors.

These included forcible oral copulation and a lewd act upon a 15-year-old, but not counts of rape, extortion, and child pornography.

One victim in court Wednesday, June 8, condemned officials for “negotiating with this rapist” while another said in a statement read to the court that the justice system “failed us.”

A high court in Los Angeles sentenced him to 16 years and eight months in prison.

General Rob Bonta the California attorney hailed the sentence as a “critical step forward for justice.”

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