LOS ANGELES — The pinnacle of a Mexican megachurch who’s serving greater than 16 years in a California jail for sexually abusing younger followers was charged Wednesday with two federal crimes involving a 16-year-old lady, prosecutors stated.
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Naasón Joaquín García, 54, on two fees of possessing and producing little one pornography, in line with an announcement from the U.S. legal professional’s workplace.
When he was arrested in California in 2019, Garcia had an iPad that contained 5 movies depicting the then-teenaged lady partaking in sexual exercise, the assertion stated.
“We didn’t indict till after the state case was completed,” the U.S. legal professional’s workplace added in an e mail.
Garcia is the top of La Luz del Mundo (The Mild of the World), which claims to have 5 million followers worldwide. Believers take into account him to be the “apostle” of Jesus Christ.
However prosecutors in California say Garcia used his religious sway to have intercourse with ladies and younger ladies who had been advised it might result in their salvation — or damnation in the event that they refused.
An e mail looking for remark from the church on the brand new federal fees wasn’t instantly returned Wednesday.
Garcia at the moment is serving a jail sentence on the California Establishment for Males in Chino. Final yr, he pleaded responsible to 2 state counts of forcible oral copulation involving minors and one depend of a lewd act upon a toddler who was 15.
In trade, California prosecutors dropped 16 counts that included allegations of raping kids and ladies, in addition to human trafficking to provide little one pornography.
On the time, the church stated that García pleaded responsible as a result of he didn’t assume he may get a good trial after prosecutors withheld or doctored proof and the settlement would permit him to be freed sooner.
Victims who spoke at Garcia’s trial objected to the plea deal, saying it was too lenient.
If convicted of the federal fees, Garcia would face 15 to 30 years in federal jail for producing little one pornography and as much as 10 years in jail for possessing it. A choose would resolve whether or not he served the time concurrently or along with his state sentence, in line with the U.S. legal professional’s workplace.