Church leader claims he was the victim of a high-tech hit job

California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, appealed for more victims to come forward

Mexican church leader claims he was the victim of a high-tech hit job
The leader of The Light of the World church is accused of rape, child pornography, and human trafficking - Photo: Carlos Zepeda/EL UNIVERSAL
English 10/06/2019 13:32 Reuters Mexico City Actualizada 13:38

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The head of a Mexico-based church La Luz del Mundo or The Light of the World in English, charged with multiple sex crimes, including rape of a minor and a woman in Los Angeles, is the victim of false accusations in a “high-tech hit job”, according to his attorney.

An attorney for Mexican church leader Naasón Joaquín García defended his client one day after California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, appealed for more victims to come forward.

Naasón Joaquín, whose church claims at least 5 million followers worldwide and calls him “the Apostle of Jesus”, was arrested along with two women affiliated with the church at Los Angeles International Airport last Monday.

California Attorney General’s Office charged Naasón Joaquín with the rape of a minor, rape of a woman, lewd act upon a child as well as other sex crimes and conspiracy and extortion.

“My client, the apostle, is a victim in this case,” attorney Kenneth Rosenfeld said at a news conference on Friday.

“He is a victim of technology, of a high-tech hit job,” Rosenfeld said, referring to the ability to doctor photos and manipulate social media.

The investigation began in 2018, in part because of information submitted to the California Department of Justice through a state website set up to report clergy abuse.

In total, Naasón Joaquín and his three co-defendants have been charged with committing 26 felony crimes in Southern California between 2015 and 2018. A criminal complaint said three minors and one adult woman were the victims of sexual crimes.

Naasón Joaquín's bail was set at USD $50 million.

It was the highest ever bail amount imposed in Los Angeles, which prosecutors said reflected fears Naasón Joaquín would raise money from his church followers and flee to Mexico.

La Luz del Mundo claims it has been the victim of hate crimes after its leader was arrested and Becerra called him “demented” several times during a press conference.
 

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