The leader of a Mexican megachurch with branches in the Los Angeles area was indicted on federal charges for producing and possessing child pornography.
Naasón Joaquín García, 54, was indicted on Wednesday and is expected to be arraigned at the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
The leader of the Mexico-based La Luz del Mundo megachurch, García had served as a minister in Santa Ana before leading the church in Mexico.
García made international headlines when he was arrested at LAX on June 3, 2019 on allegations of child exploitation.
This latest filing alleges that he produced and possessed child sexual abuse material involving a 16-year-old victim.
Court documents state that García “knowingly employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced” the minor victim to make at least five sexually explicit videos, which were found on his iPad when he was arrested at LAX.
He has remained in state custody since his arrest and has previously admitted to previous sexual abuse of a child, including two counts of “forcible oral copulation” and one count of “committing a lewd act.”
He is currently serving a 17-year prison sentence for those crimes at the California Institution for Men in Chino. If convicted on these new charges, García would face a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison with the possibility of 30 to 40 years.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation.
Despite his convictions and current prison sentence, followers of La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World) have remained loyal to García, with many saying his imprisonment has only strengthened the church.
In September 2022, García, calling from prison, addressed his followers at the church’s main temple in Guadalajara during its most important holiday.
Some former members have filed lawsuits against the church, alleging they were victim to “horrific” sexual abuse.