Líder de la iglesia La Luz del Mundo. Foto: CNN en Español

Church leader La Luz del Mundo pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of minors

Leader of the church La Luz del Mundo.  Photo: CNN in Spanish

Mexican pastor Naasón Joaquín García, leader of the La Luz del Mundo church, pleaded guilty this Friday to at least three charges of sexual abuse of minors in a US court. This was reported by the attorney general of CaliforniaRob Bonta.

Bonta specified that the plea agreement includes multiple serious crimes of sexual assault against the so-called “Apostle of Jesus Christ”, involving three minors.

The guilty plea comes just days before the trial, which was scheduled to begin next Monday with jury selection.

Garcia, 53, faced 19 charges, including rape of minors, possession of child pornography and human trafficking.

The sentencing hearing is set for next Wednesday, June 8. They will do it in a Los Angeles court.

“As the leader of La Luz del Mundo, Naasón Joaquín García used his power to take advantage of children. He relied on those around him to groom parishioners for sexual assault,” Bonta said in a statement.

He added that today’s agreement “can never repair the damage, but it will help protect future generations.”

Church leader La Luz del Mundo pleaded guilty

García was arrested three years ago, on June 3, along with one of his assistants, Susana Medina Oaxaca, after they arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in a private plane.

Medina, Alondra Ocampo and Azalea Rangel Meléndez, the latter with a search and arrest warrant issued against her, also face charges in the same case.

Bonta specified that the investigation, which began in 2018, culminated in the arrest of García, Medina and Ocampo in 2019. This for conduct that occurred over several years in Los Angeles County since at least 2015.

Ocampo, who had pleaded guilty to four counts in October 2020, was a potential witness against the religious leader at trial.

Prosecutor Bonta reported that Oaxaca also pleaded guilty today in court to charges of “assault likely to cause serious bodily injury.”

Garcia’s bail value, currently $90 million, is the highest in California history.

The non-Trinitarian Christian church La Luz del Mundo, which has its international headquarters in Guadalajara (Mexico), was founded in 1926 by Aarón Joaquín, Naasón’s grandfather. It is currently present in 60 countries and claims to have up to 5 million followers.

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