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LOS ANGELES (AP) — An evangelical Christian church based in Mexico says it hopes human trafficking and child rape accusations against its leader won't lead to discrimination against its worshippers.
California's attorney general says Joaquín García and followers of La Luz del Mundo were arrested Monday after an investigation that began in 2018. The charges were announced Tuesday.
One of the defendants, Alondra Ocampo, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Los Angeles.
The fundamentalist church claims to have over 1 million followers, with more than 15,000 churches in 58 countries. It was founded in 1926 by García's grandfather and has been the subject of child sex abuse allegations for years but Mexican authorities never filed criminal charges.
Church officials in Mexico say García is an honorable and honest man and they reject the charges.
Verza contributed reporting from Mexico City.
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