Mexican megachurch leader back in court in child rape case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The leader of Mexican megachurch La Luz del Mundo will return to court for a preliminary hearing on child rape and human trafficking charges.

Naason Joaquin Garcia is being held without bail after his arrest in June on suspicion of sexually abusing three girls and a woman in Los Angeles County. He and his two co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.

A judge could rule Thursday if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Garcia is considered the church’s apostle, and the victims were allegedly told they would be going against God if they didn’t acquiesce to his sexual demands.

His defense attorneys have raised concerns about potential evidence manipulation and argue there is a conspiracy, saying a complaining witness has tried to frame their client.

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