South Korean authorities arrested a cult leader over rape and molestation allegations on Tuesday.
Jung Myung-seok, the 77-year-old leader of the controversial religious group Christian Gospel Mission (CGM), is accused of sexually assaulting a Hong Kong woman and an Australian woman by “quasi-rape” from 2018 to 2021.
Under South Korea’s Criminal Act, Article 299, “quasi-rape” may be applied in cases in which a person “engages in sexual intercourse with another person by taking advantage of his or her state of unconsciousness or inability to resist.”
The cultist sect, which Jung founded in 1978, is known by its variety of names, including Jesus Morning Star, Providence, the Bright Moon Church, the Global Association of Culture and Peace and Setsuri.
The movement’s teachings include the idea that Jesus’ “Second Coming” has already passed, and that Jung is now the modern-day messiah. It now purportedly has members in over 50 countries.
Jung has been convicted of sexual assault in the past, having served a 10-year prison sentence for raping several female members of his movement. Recent victims have alleged that the leader returned to abusing women just months after his release in 2018.
Jung’s cult made headlines in 2016 after several members from Australia came forward to accuse the group of using modeling classes and bible studies as fronts to recruit young women in Australia to be his “spiritual wives.”
Providence members reportedly scouted its victims in universities before using mind-conditioning techniques to influence the members into performing sexual acts with Jung.
Among such victims is a former Providence member from Melbourne who alleged that Jung sexually assaulted her in 2018 while she was visiting Providence’s headquarters in Wolmyeongdong, South Korea. A woman from Hong Kong made a similar claim.
Jung will remain on remand in jail until authorities have deemed that a trial will start.
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Featured Image via Providence Hub
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