Religious group raided in leader's sexual assault probe
DAEJEON, March 23 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors and police raided the compound of a controversial religious sect, the Jesus Morning Star (JMS), on Thursday as part of their ongoing investigation into allegations that its leader sexually assaulted female followers.
Jeong Myeong-seok, the founder of JMS, has been standing trial under detention on charges of sexually assaulting two female followers with foreign nationality, while fresh accusations have also been filed that three more followers were also sexually assaulted.
Investigators from the Chungnam Provincial Police and the Daejeon District Prosecutors Office searched the JMS training center in Geumsan, about 165 kilometers south of Seoul, and other sites to secure evidence in support of the allegations.
Prosecutors have been stepping up the investigation to bring additional charges against Jeong as his detention period is set to expire soon.
Jeong, who refers to himself as the Messiah or the second coming of Jesus, was released in 2018 after serving 10 years in prison for raping a number of female followers and embezzling funds from JMS.
Multiple sexual abuse allegations were further raised against Jeong after his release.
A recent Netflix documentary series painted a picture of crimes by four religious figures, including Jeong. Two foreign victims assaulted by Jeong shared their experience in the series.
Earlier, a Seoul court rejected JMS' request for an injunction to stop the release of the series.
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