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La Luz del Mundo church leader charged with child rape, human trafficking

FILE: The dome under construction at the La Luz Del Mundo church in Phoenix, October 2010.
FILE: The dome under construction at the La Luz Del Mundo church in Phoenix, October 2010.
Photo by Lotus_7/Flickr (Creative Commons)

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The leader of the Guadalajara, Mexico-based church La Luz del Mundo was facing arraignment Wednesday in Los Angeles on charges including rape and human trafficking. The alleged crimes occurred in L.A. County, where the church has multiple locations. 

The California Attorney General’s office has charged Joaquin Garcia with 26 felony counts, including rape of a minor and producing child pornography. The complaint alleges Joaquin Garcia told some of these minors that “an apostle of God can never be judged for his actions.” Three female church members were also charged. Church spokesman Nicolas Menchaca in Guadalajara said the church rejects the charges as false.