The leader of a megachurch in Mexico, Naason Joaquin Garcia, has pleaded guilty to sexual assault of three young girls.
The man of the cloth was sentenced in Los Angeles on June 8 to nearly 17 years in prison.
Garcia is a self-styled apostle of La Luiz del Mundo (Light of the World) church which has 5 million followers globally.
He pleaded guilty on June 3 to two counts of oral copulation with minors and performing a lewd act on a child. The prosecutor revealed that the church leader forced teenage girls into sexual activities by telling them that refusing his advances would be acting against God.
Garcia was arrested in Los Angeles airport in June 2019 for a child rape and human trafficking case. However, the two cases were thrown out due technicalities and later charges were re-filed.
The apostle who is aged 53 claims to be the last apostle of Jesus. On June 3, he pleaded guilty to the crimes of sexual assault of three minors and felony. Previously, he had denied all the charges filed against him.
The victims were not happy and accused the officials of “negotiating with the rapist” and for that the justice system “failed us.”
The apostle was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison. California Attorney General Rob Bonta praised the sentence as a “critical step forward for justice.”
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