The man who leads a huge international church and calls himself the “Apostle” has now been abandoned for a second time by one of the women who allegedly groomed and recruited teenage girls from the church for him to sexually abuse.
In a major set back for the defense of Nasson Joaquin Garcia, his co-defendant, Alondra Ocampo, has pleaded guilty to four felony counts involving the sexual abuse of minors and is now prepared to testify against him at trial in California.
Garcia leads the Light of the World Church, an evangelical-based faith which claims to have five million members in dozens of countries around the world. The church says it has congregations in all 50 American states.
The decision by Ocampo followed weeks of testimony by California state agents about her role in delivering young women to Garcia for sexually deviant acts, many of which she recorded on video for him.
Ocampo has been held in custody for more than a year since her arrest with Garcia on his private jet at the Los Angeles airport by California law enforcement. Garcia, charged with 23 counts of child sex abuse, is being held on $90 million bail; trial is scheduled for November. The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Garcia “coerced victims into performing sexual acts by telling them that if they went against any of his desires or wishes as ‘the Apostle,’ that they were going against God,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at the time of the arrest.
In pre-trial testimony California state agents said the young victims in the case known as Jane Does 1-5 , described Ocampo’s role as a “handmaiden,” women who were groomed and were sexually abused themselves before doing the same to other young women in the church.
“Ocampo requested that Jane Doe number one send her nude photos of herself because the servant of god who is defendant Garcia, would be really happy,” said special agent Thomas Donohue in court.
Agents also testified that Ocampo would take the young girls to Victoria’s Secret stores to buy lingerie for them to wear as she filmed them for the “Apostle.”
“She was provided by Mrs Ocampo, provided whipped cream, strawberries, lingerie, and the other girl would spray the whipped cream and strawberries on each other and then lick them off,” said Special Agent Troy Holmes in court.
Ocampo is the second woman from Garcia’s inner circle to turn against him. Earlier this year, Sochil Martin, who grew up in the Church in southern California, filed a civil lawsuit against Garcia and the church, describing how she had been recruited at the age of nine and became a “sex slave” for both Garcia’s father—the previous Apostle—and then Garcia.
Martin, a former church member, told the Law&Crime Network how she was then coerced into helping to recruit other young women and participated in the taping of lurid sex scenes involving the teens and Garcia.
“They go along with it because they think it’s a blessing. They don’t doubt that the servant of God is lying to them or that he’s committing a crime against them.” Martin, who left the church years earlier, said in an interview with Brian Ross Investigates.
“I believe she [Ocampo] was brainwashed,” said Martin. “This was all Naason’s doing.”
In other new developments in the pre-trial hearings this week, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, citing insufficient evidence, dismissed four counts of extortion and two counts of forcible rape of a minor and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor against Garcia, a move that was declared a victory by the Apostle’s supporters.
“Today’s decision demonstrates, as we have always said, that the Apostle is innocent and his innocence will be judicially proven through the course of the trial” a Church spokesperson said in a written statement to Brian Ross Investigates.
“We reiterate that his procedural and constitutional rights must remain in force, such as the presumption of innocence and the right to due process, as well as the right to be judged impartially and without bias.” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile the California State Attorney General continues its investigation and has created a dedicated hotline for tips: (323) 765-2100 or https://oag.ca.gov/LLDM
[Image via Law&Crime Network]
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