Naason Joaquin Garcia, Controversial Leader of California Megachurch, to Go on Trial in September for Multiple Sex Crimes, Including Child Sex Abuse

A September trial date has been set for Naason Joaquin Garcia, the leader of the Guadalajara-based La Luz del Mundo church.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A judge on Monday set a Sept. 27 trial date for Naason Joaquin Garcia, the head of La Luz del Mundo church, who faces a slew of sex abuse charges.

Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen also ordered Susana Medina Oaxaca, who will stand trial alongside Garcia, to appear in court in downtown Los Angeles then.

An attorney from the California attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, estimated that the trial could last five to seven weeks.

Earlier in the hearing, before the September date was set, Alan Jackson, Garcia’s attorney, had said he was “not prepared to announce ready for trial” due to discovery issues and asked for “a little bit more time.”

Garcia, 51, who is known among his followers as “the apostle,” is being held in lieu of $90 million bail and faces counts that include human trafficking, forcible rape and forcible oral copulation of a minor, and possession of child pornography.

He has been charged along with Alondra Ocampo, 38, and Oaxaca, 26, in a case in which prosecutors allege that girls engaged in sexual activity with Garcia under duress from both women and that the girls were told that if they went against Garcia’s desires they were going against God.

Garcia has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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SOURCE: LA Times, Leila Miller

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