By BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Naasón Joaquín García, the chief of Mexican megachurch La Luz del Mundo, dropped his vigorous denials of sexually abusing women and pleaded responsible Friday simply days earlier than going through trial, California state prosecutors stated.
García, 53, pleaded responsible in Los Angeles Superior Court to two counts of forcible oral copulation involving minors and one rely of a lewd act upon a toddler who was 15. He had confronted trial Monday on fees that included little one rape and human trafficking to produce little one pornography.
Garcia, chief of a church based by his grandfather that has 5 million worldwide followers, used his non secular affect to have intercourse with a number of feminine followers, prosecutors stated.
“García used his energy to reap the benefits of kids,” Attorney General Rob Bonta stated in an announcement. “He relied on these round him to groom congregants for the needs of sexual assault. Today’s conviction can by no means undo the hurt, however it can assist defend future generations.”
The responsible plea is an abrupt flip from the vigorous denials by his attorneys and ardent assist from the Guadalajara-based church and his followers. The church and Garcia’s attorneys didn’t instantly touch upon the responsible plea.
Sentencing was scheduled for Wednesday. Garcia stays jailed on $90 million bail.
Since his arrest in 2019, Garcia was going through one other hurdle at trial.
One of his a co-defendants, Alondra Ocampo, a church member who has since pleaded responsible and admitted she facilitated and took part in the abuse, was poised to testify in opposition to him.
Attorney Fred Thiagarajah, who represents the previous church youth group chief, stated Ocampo could be the star witness who might corroborate the testimony of victims and supply context for the prosecutor’s case.
“She actively recruited and groomed women for him,” Thiagarajah stated. “She would goal women and convey them into his interior fold. She was tasked with sexualizing these women and facilitating their abuse.”
Ocampo informed women that in the event that they rebuffed the needs and needs of “the apostle,” they had been going in opposition to God, in accordance to the fees.
She inspired women to put on skimpy outfits and dance for Garcia, who then “gave them a speech a few king having mistresses and said that an apostle of God can by no means be judged for his actions,” the fees state.
Ocampo informed three women that Garcia could be happy to obtain nude selfies of them and she or he even orchestrated pornographic picture shoots of them touching one another that she stated could be despatched to Garcia.
Garcia thanked the women for the pictures, in accordance to court docket paperwork.
Another feminine co-defendant who was a member of the church, Susana Medina Oaxaca, pleaded responsible Friday to assault probably to trigger nice bodily harm.
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