South Korean megachurch pastor Lee Jae-rock was sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping eight female followers, and telling them it was God’s will.
The Korea Times reported that Lee, the 75-year-old pastor of Manmin Central Church, was found guilty on Thursday of using his power and status to force the victims, all in their 20s, to have sex with him, saying that it was an “order from God.”
The Seoul Central District Court also ordered the church leader to take 80 hours of therapy classes and banned him from working with youth institutions for 10 years after his prison term.
The court found that Lee had presented himself as a holy figure of sorts, with his followers too afraid to disobey him.
“The victims have been attending the church since their teenage years and regarded the pastor as a holy figure, thinking that obeying him would open the way to Heaven. So they did not disobey his orders, and he took advantage of this to repeatedly rape and harass them for a long time,” the court said.
Lee, whose church claims over 130,000 followers, was arrested back in May on charges that he raped at least eight women on nearly 40 different occasions.
He insisted that the victims are intentionally defaming him and that they could have spurned his advances.
The court rejected the argument, however, noting that “there was no reason for the victims to accuse him falsely because they themselves would face shame and public attention.”
“The pastor praised himself as a holy figure. The victims believed him as such a figure and that the sexual acts were God’s will,” it added.
Click here to read more.
Source: Christian Post