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Megachurch leader pleads guilty to multiple sex charges days before trial begins

Leader of Mexico based evangelical megachurch pleads guilty to sex crimes
Leader of Mexico based evangelical megachurch pleads guilty to sex crimes 00:29

The leader of the megachurch  La Luz del Mundo, Naasón Joaquín García, pleaded guilty to multiple sexual assault charges involving three minors just days before his trial was slated to begin. 

"Today's conviction sends a clear message that sexual exploitation is never acceptable in California," said Attorney General Rob Bonta. "We will hold you accountable if you break the law."

On Friday, Garcia pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible copulation and one count of a lewd act, both of which involved minors. 

"As the leader of La Luz del Mundo, Naasón Joaquín García, used his power to take advantage of children," said Bonta. "He relied on those around him to groom congregants for the purposes of sexual assault."

The California Department of Justice arrested Garcia and two other members of the church, Susana Medina Oaxaca and Alondra Ocampo, in 2019. Prosecutors said that the crimes dated back to at least 2015. 

Oaxaca pleaded guilty to one count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury on Friday also. Ocampo pleaded guilty to three felony counts of contact with a minor for the purposes of committing a sexual offense and one count of forcible sexual penetration two years ago. 

Authorities continue to search for a fourth suspect, Azalea Rangel Melendez. 

"Today's conviction can never undo the harm, but it will help protect future generations," said Bonta. 

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