Defense Team Accuses Prosecution of Fabricating Evidence in Trial of Spanish Megachurch Pastor Accused of Sex Crimes
The defense team for the leader of a California Spanish megachurch who is accused of sex crimes, including grooming and raping teenage girls and possessing child pornography, has filed a lengthy motion ahead of his May trial accusing the prosecution of fabricating and hiding evidence.
Naason Joaquin Garcia, a self-proclaimed apostle and leader of La Luz del Mundo—Spanish for “Light of the World”—a Mexican evangelical church with 5 million followers worldwide, faces multiple counts of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation of a minor, human trafficking, and possession of child pornography.
García and two co-defendants allegedly committed sex crimes and produced child pornography involving five women and girls from the church between 2015 and 2018. Officials said the girls were threatened that if they “went against any desires or wishes of ‘the Apostle,’” they were “going against God.”
Garcia has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyers have continued to maintain his innocence, as has the church.
The 221-page motion claims the California Attorney General’s Office fabricated false evidence and deleted and concealed exculpatory evidence, and that Garcia’s due process rights “have been trampled and crushed beneath the boot of a prosecution hell-bent on winning a conviction no matter the cost.”
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“The only remedy in the face of this extreme and shocking conduct is for this Court to dismiss the information,” it says.
La Luz del Mondo told The Christian Post in a statement that the church was “shocked by the facts in the recent motion.”
“We continue to pray for and trust in the judicial system of the United States, knowing that it guarantees the constitutional rights of all individuals, including the guarantee of due process. These basic rights have not been granted to the Apostle Naasón Joaquín García,” the statement said.
An appeals court initially dropped allegations against Garcia, saying a preliminary hearing was not held in a timely manner, then the state of California re-filed charges in August 2020, and his bail was set at $50 million.