La Luz del Mundo Church Leader, Several Followers Charged with Sex Offenses
On Tuesday, the leader of Mexico-based megachurch La Luz del Mundo was arrested on human trafficking and child rape charges after four followers from an East Los Angeles branch came forward with allegations of sexual abuse.
50-year-old Naasón Joaquín García is known as an apostle by his followers at the Guadalajara-based church. He was arrested on Monday after landing at LAX and faces 26 felony charges, including forcible rape of a minor and human trafficking.
García’s bail was originally set at $25 million and then doubled to $50 million, as he is seen as a flight risk.
Three girls and one woman came forward with allegations of sexual abuse that allegedly happened between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County. Authorities say that García coerced victims into sexual activity by saying that their refusal would be against God.
Two other church members have been arrested. 24-year-old Susana Medina Oaxaca was arrested on Monday for allegations related to sexual abuse. 36-year-old Alondra Ocampo was arrested on Wednesday and police are seeking a fourth suspect, Azalea Rangel Melendez, who remains at large.
Hi, I’m attorney Brian Kent.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse, I’d be happy to discuss your legal options.
Call me on the number below. It costs nothing, and it would be my honor to help you.
California Attorney General Says More Victims Likely
On Thursday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a press conference. He said that he believes there are additional victims in this case who have yet to come forward:
“It would be hard to believe that, based on the information that we’re collecting, that it’s only these four individuals,” he said.
Becerra also urged other victims to come forward.
Legal Options For Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents survivors in civil lawsuits against their abusers and negligent third parties, such as churches. Here is Brian with some general thoughts on the legal options available to victims of clergy sex abuse:
In many cases of sexual abuse, the perpetrator is someone in a position of power who abuses this power to commit terrible crimes. This is commonly seen in cases of clergy sex abuse when religious leaders exploit the trust of their followers. At Abuse Guardian, our attorneys have seen many of these cases across several different religions and denominations.
Many victims of clergy sex abuse feel they have no recourse. In some religious organizations, these matters are handled in house rather than referred to law enforcement. But survivors of clergy sex do have legal recourse. Along with reporting the perpetrator to law enforcement, survivors also often have grounds for a lawsuit against the church.
Churches have a legal duty to keep their followers safe from sexual predators. If you or someone you love is a survivor of clergy sex abuse and you’d like to learn more about your family’s legal options, consider contacting an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer for a free consultation.
Local News Coverage From CBS Los Angeles
Iglesia La Luz del Mundo in Los Angeles, CA
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