California court dismisses rape and human trafficking charges against Naasón Joaquín García

08/04/2020
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13:49
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Newsroom & Agencies
California court dismisses rape and human trafficking charges against Naasón Joaquín García
The church leader was accused of rape, human trafficking, and child pornography - Photo: Mario Jasso/CUARTOSCURO.COM

California court dismisses rape and human trafficking charges against Naasón Joaquín García

08/04/2020
13:49
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
AP
-A +A
It is unclear when will church leader Naasón joaquín be released from prison 

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A California court dismissed rape and human trafficking charges against Naasón Joaquín García, on procedural grounds; García is the self-proclaimed apostle of the La Luz del Mundo church. The decision could lead to the release of the evangelical church leader after almost one year in prison.

Naasón Joaquín, accused abusing minors, has been imprisoned in a California jail since May 2019. He maintains he is innocent. 

The local Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the court decision. 

Naasón’s lawyer, Alan Jackson, said his client is “thrilled” about the decision to throw out the two charges against him.

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In a statement, Jackson said: “In their zeal to secure a conviction at any cost, the Attorney General has sought to strip Mr. García of his freedom without due process by locking him up without bail on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations by unnamed accusers and by denying him his day in court.”

Furthermore, in a statement, La Luz del Mundo officials urged their followers to remain respectful and pray for authorities:“(W)e are not to point fingers or accuse anyone, we must practice the Christian values that identify us, such as patience, prudence, respect and love of God,” they said.

The appeals court ruling states that the Los Angeles County Superior Court must dismiss the 29 counts of felony charges that range from human trafficking and production of child pornography to forcible rape of a minor.

The appeals court ruled that because García's preliminary hearing was not held in a timely manner and he did not waive his right to one, the complaint filed against him must be dismissed.

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His hearing was postponed several times because prosecutors had not turned over evidence to the defense, as he remained held without bail, prompting his lawyers to file an appeal.

The appeals court ruled that a preliminary hearing on an amended complaint about an in-custody defendant must be held within 10 days of the second arraignment unless the defendant waives the 10-day time period or there is “good cause” for the delay.

The appeal only mentioned the dismissal of García's case and not those of his co-defendants, Susana Medina Oaxaca and Alondra Ocampo. A fourth defendant, Azalea Rangel Melendez, remains at large.

The dismissal is the latest in a series of blunders on this high-profile case for the Attorney General’s Office.

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