Court Sets Bail At $50M For Church Leader Accused Of Human Trafficking

Screengrab/FRANCE 24 Español/YouTube

Naasón Joaquín García could face up to 26 felony charges, including child rape, statutory rape, and human trafficking.

Los Angeles has slapped a $50 million bail on a Mexican church leader accused of rape and human trafficking, according to ABC News.

The bail imposed on Naasón Joaquín García, chief of the La Luz del Mundo, is reportedly the largest in LA county's history. The Mexican nationalist church has close to 5 million followers and is the second largest denomination in that country.

Garcia could face 26 felony charges, including child rape, statutory rape, molestation, human trafficking, child pornography, and extortion.

The bail hearing and the arraignment were moved to June 21, after the defense said it needed time to gather documents that prove Garcia would not be a flight risk.

Bails for his co-defendants Alondra Ocampo and Susana Oaxaca were set at $25 million and $5 million, respectively. Azalea Rangel Melendez, the last defendant has yet to be found.

Garcia's attorney argued the bail amount is improperly high and punitive, since it is based on the 5 million followers that might donate money to the leader’s cause.

Protests have been staged at the church’s temples in the wake of the scandal. According to Mexican media, the church has asked Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to protect believers from possible harassment.

Read the rest of the story here.

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