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Prosecutors seek 30-yr prison term for cult leader for sex assault

Nov. 21, 2023 - 20:41 By Yonhap
Portrait of Jeong Myeong-seok from the advertisement of Netflix's documentary series "In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal." (Netflix)

DAEJEON -- Prosecutors on Tuesday demanded a 30-year prison term for the leader of a controversial religious group charged with sexual assault.

Jeong Myeong-seok, who leads the Jesus Morning Star (JMS) group, is accused of raping and sexually assaulting two female followers of foreign nationality on multiple occasions from February 2018 to September 2021, as well as sexually molesting a South Korean female follower.

In the final hearing at the Daejeon District Court, prosecutors also demanded he be ordered to undergo 500 hours of a sexual therapy program and wear ankle monitors for 20 years.

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 raised against Jeong after his release, including those depicted in a recent Netflix documentary series that portrayed crimes committed by four religious figures, including Jeong. (Yonhap)