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La Luz del Mundo church leader pleads not guilty to child rape

Very little is known about García, the leader of one of the fastest-growing Christian churches in Mexico

La Luz del Mundo church leader pleads not guilty to child rape
His followers refer to him as the “Apostle of Jesus Christ” - Photo: Jorge Alberto Mendoza/EL UNIVERSAL
English 17/09/2020 12:18 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 12:25
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La Luz del Mundo church leader Naasón Joaquín García pled not guilty to 36 counts of sexual abuse and rape, among other accusations. 

The other two suspects, Susana Medina Oaxaca and Alondra Ocampo, also pled not guilty. 

Judge Ronald S. Coen found enough evidence against García on August 19 and decided the church leader would stand trial.

Joaquín García, 51, faces a series of disturbing accusations, including raping a minor, extortion, conspiracy, child pornography, among many other heinous crimes. 

Recommended: Mexican religious leader charged with sex crimes held on $90 million bail
 
 An LA court set his bond at USD 90 million on August 6. 
 
Joaquín García’s defense tried to have the case dismissed over alleged mistakes in the proceedings. However, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed new charges against Naasón Joaquín García and his two alleged accomplices: Susana Medina Oaxaca and Alondra Ocampo. Meanwhile, Azalea Rangel Meléndez is at large. 
 
La Luz del Mundo church has followers in over 50 countries, it has roots that go back to the 1920s in Mexico. It adheres to nontrinitarianism, rejecting a mainstream Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It says it adheres to the earliest beliefs of the Christian church teachings.

Naasón Joaquín García

Very little is known about Naasón Joaquín, the leader of one of the fastest-growing Christian churches in Mexico.
 
Naasón Joaquín was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in 1969. He has been to Spain and Portugal as a missionary and took over the church in 2014 after his father died. His followers refer to him as the “Apostle of Jesus Christ.” He has been the minister of La Luz del Mundo church in the U.S. for over 22 years.

Recommended: Mexican megachurch leader Naasón Joaquín García ordered to stand trial on sex crimes in California
 
La Luz del Mundo is a religious organization present in 58 countries and has over 15,000 churches in the world. This church describes itself as the restoration of primitive Christianity. It does not use crosses or religious images in its worship services. Female members follow a dress code that includes long skirts and the use of head coverings during religious services.

The Trump administration granted a loan to La Luz del Mundo church

In early September, EL UNIVERSAL reported that La Luz del Mundo, led by Naasón Joaquín García, received a loan from the Trump administration in June. The polemic church received between USD 350,000 and USD 1 million amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Naasón Joaquín García is currently imprisoned in the U.S., where he faces 36 counts of sexual abuse. La Luz del Mundo church argues the bond set at USD 90 million is an early prison sentence for the spiritual leader.
 
U.S. media reported that LDM Central USA Evangelical Ministries, a branch of La Luz del Mundo based in Houston, received the government loan. This branch of the church was established by Agustín Ahumada, Louis Cruz, and María Elena Martínez in 2009.
 
Ahumada is a pastor at the church, while Louis Cruz is a deacon. Martínez is a legal representative. 
 
The loans granted by Donald Trump’s administration aim to soften the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on small and medium-sized enterprises.
 
However, as reported by newspaper El País, some have criticized the decision to grant a loan to La Luz del Mundo, as the religious organization “does not pay salaries or taxes to those at the bottom of the hierarchy, and because the tithe flow hasn’t stopped despite Joaquín García’s arrest."
 
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