Naason Joaquin Garcia, the self-proclaimed apostle of the Guadalajara-based evangelical church, La Luz del Mundo, was arrested last June for 26 felony crimes in Southern California (REUTERS). On Tuesday, a California appeals court ordered the dismissal of the criminal case and charges of child rape and human trafficking against Garcia on procedural grounds (AP). The judges ruled the case should be dropped because he was denied his right to a speedy preliminary hearing (REUTERS). The ruling is not considered final for another 30 days, and prosecutors are reviewing the decision (BBC).
In February, a woman named Sochil Martin sued the church and Garcia (REUTERS). She claims he manipulated Bible passages to convince her that the sexual abuse she endured for 12 years was actually a gift from God (AP). Court documents alleged Garcia lectured several underage children about a “king having mistresses” and claimed that “an apostle of god can never be judged” (BBC). The church claims to have over five million followers globally, and over a million in Mexico (BBC).