The criminal case against the leader of a Mexico-based megachurch on charges that included child rape and human trafficking was ordered dismissed Tuesday by a California appeals court on procedural grounds — a decision that will resound heavily with church followers worldwide who have maintained their leader’s innocence.
Naason Joaquin Garcia, known among La Luz del Mundo’s members as the “apostle” of Jesus Christ, had been in custody since June following his arrest on accusations involving three minors and one adult between 2015 and 2018 in Los Angeles County, with counts that took place in 2019 later added.
He had denied wrongdoing and was held without bail in Los Angeles.
While in jail, he had remained the spiritual leader of La Luz del Mundo, which is Spanish for “The Light of the World.” Garcia’s arrest sparked emergency prayer services throughout the congregations of his Guadalajara-based church that has claimed more than 5 million followers worldwide. Since then, the organization, which was founded by Garcia’s grandfather, had continued to support the apostle.
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