Tras múltiples denuncias una red de oscuros secretos y abusos a menores es descubierta, los líderes de una iglesia se ven envueltos en terribles crímenes que tendrán que pagar en prisión.
17 May 2021 – 12:00 AM EDT
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they have broken a strict codeof silence.
it is not normal for a nine or10-year-old girl should dance
and take off her clothing for agrown man.
>> several members of la luz delmundo make accusation against
leaders of the church.>> he did these things with
small children that he molested.>> they talk about young girls
given to the self-proclaimedservant of god.
>> they say that under thistemple, there is a web of
secret tunnels and private roomsin the basement.
>> he began to abuse me mentallyand control me.
>>, many people ask themselveswhere do thered donations go.
>> i was not working for god, iwas working for a multimillion
dollar enterprise.>> they also want to know how
the lavish lifestyle of anapostle and his family are
financed.the dark light of the world.
♪>> in june 2019, mexican
pastore naason joaquin garcia,spiritual leader of the church
la luz del mundo, was arrestedin california under sexual
charges.this opened a number of other
charges from men and women whosay they were groped by him.
he declared himself not guilty.>> hello.
>> for months, journalistsgather documents and evidence
regarding this church.>> some of these stories are
crude and not advisable foryounger viewers.
we now see an introduction tothe dark light of the la luz del
mundo.>> i remember i was a small
child.>> it is not normal for a nine
or 10-year-old girl to dance andtake off her clothing for a man
of that age.>> he told me, you have to be
sexier, you have to look at iseyes, -- at his eyes.
>> as a i did not think it wasbad -- as a little girl i did
not take it was bad.>> sochil martin, a
mexican-american girl grew up --who grew up under the
commandments of the la luz delmundo, her drama began,
according to her, when she wasnine-year-old and she was taken
by her aunt to dance naked infront of samuel joaquin flores,
the supreme leader of the church.
she gave us two interviews.>> all these years passed, and i
could not believe that he woulddo that with small children.
that he would molest, he wouldhurt, he would abuse.
that is not godly.>> the church went to naason
joaquin garcia, and he turnedher into his sex slave,
according to a civil suit filedin california.
this happens in a global churchthat, for decades, has exploited
children and others as a centralpoint of its operations.
but that changed, he said, whenmartin refused to masturbate a
14-year-old girl in front ofhim.
he beat her brutally andprevented her from being taken
to a hospital.the boy was then forced to have
sexual relations with his motherwhile the pastor watched.
>> the boy was trembling.he was cold.
i remember i looked at hismother, and his mother was
smiling at me, as though thiswas normal, or as if this was
something she was expecting.then i would look at nasson and
he was excited.he was excited.
and i remember kissing him.the little boy was so cold.
i couldnt.i turned around and i just
stared at naason, and heseemed upset.
>> i dont want loyalty fromyou.
>> sochil martin is just one ofseveral former members of the
church who have broken aftercentury -- half a century of a
code of silence.>> what la luz del mundo says is
if you hear something that goesagainst the church or against
the apostle, you are blind, youare deaf, and you are mute.
that is the rule.>> some of the followers who
have rebelled against that rulemay be witnesses in a criminal
suit against naason joaquingarcia.
hes accused of rape, humantrafficking, and distributing
child pornography.>> when someone takes advantage
of that faith or that devotion,many abused children who are 14
years old, for me, that is not areligious leader.
that is a demented person.>> xavier becerra was named as
secretary of health and humanservices by president joe biden.
church leaders say the victimsgave their consent, and there
was no proof of minorsparticipating.
>> are you here, sir?>> for the government, gascon is
one more inmate.but for his community, hes a
representative of god who isunder arrest on earth.
>> im not a lawyer, anarchitect or a doctor, but i
will tell you the truth.god called me, cheering.
>> in this neighborhood ofguadalajara, is the headquarters
of la luz del mundo church.>> im here to pray for the
people of god.>> the faithful are baptized
here in they receive the holyspirit.
they sing, they cry, andsometimes, they have to marry
whomever the apostle says.>> you end up marrying somebody
you dont even know.>> la luz del mundo has said
they have 5 million followersthroughout the planet.
>> for them, its about gettingclose to grace.
>> the love you feel for me.>> that belief has burrowed so
deeply in the psychology offollowers that they are willing
to accept whatever the joaquinfamily says.
>> you cannot judge a servant ofgod.
that is not right.you cannot even think wrong
about them.i had friends who would go with
them and say i was with theservant of god.
and i knew she had spent thenight with the servant of god
and with her cousins, they wouldgo and not come out until the
next day.and we would think, what a
blessing, they were with theservant of god.
>> in proceeding the trial, theattorney general presented
accusers named jane and doe.>> they were asked to kiss each
other, and they would touch eachother on their breasts.
>> ocampo was declared guilty.her lawyer tells us why she
tried to recruit others.>> she was abused her whole life
and was indoctrinated intobecoming a groomer.
and sadly, when she firststarted doing this, she thought
that she was helping these girlsget a blessing.
>> some of the churchsfollowers who have expressed
their disappointment have beenrejected by their families.
>> shes one of them.>> family members from mexico
and some from the states send mesome awful messages.
they say some hateful, hatefulwords.
>> days later, he got thismessage in his whatsapp.
>> if you dont want to believe,that is your problem.
i will tell you one thing.you are getting involved not
just with one man, but with god.>> when we return, an accusation
against the highest authority of" and univision
la luz del mundo, and what heion>> these kindles for la luz del
mundo -- the scandals for la luzdel mundo began with their
previous leader.he faced charges of immorality
against women and in 1997, themexican attorneys general office
received complaints of actscommitted by his son, samuel.
geraldo reyes tells us whathappened to a man who dared to
speak out.>> for several months, the
religious group called la luzdel mundo has been in the news
in guadalajara.this man says that the church is
responsible for acts againsthim.
>> -->> he says he was attacked in
february of 1998 with a knifeafter accusing la luz del mundo
of abusing him sexually, as wellas others.
>> thank you for your supportfor the last 40 years.
>> i said that some will joaquinflorez was the person
responsible.>> he was stabbed 42 times,
according to this medicalreport.
>> i was hit here first.it was terrible.
when i felt this, i felt otherwounds in my back.
>> i want to demonstrate thatfaith is a measure of goodness.
>> he said that during histeenage years, he had been raped
by the pastor on a trip.he said when he returned, he
told me he was an angel andangels did not have sex, and
that i should not feel bad.on the contrary, i should feel
blessed for having learned thesecrets of a servant of god.
the testimonies against theleaders of the church date back
to its origins.the founder would surround
himself with young women whowere given to him by family
members.>> he was surrounded by women
who were called the women of thebig house.
it was a group of six to 10women, and they would prepare
the next generation.>> erin was followed by his son
samuel in 1974.he was less discrete on jericho
street.he was always accompanied by
girls ages nine to 14.they were also given up by their
parents, according to testimony.>> they have properties that are
private.they invite you.
they talk to your parents.and because parents want to be
part of a blessing, they willsay, look, at such and such a
basement in such a such a church, this boy or girl will be
there.>> she says she was one of those
girls.>> they abused me mentally, they
controlled me.in that house.
the woman who lived there, therewere four of us young woman who
lived there.they gave samuel a key so he
could come in at 3:00 a.m. andgrope us.
they groped all of us.>> this former pastor says his
wife was part of a group ofwomen who worked in samuels
house.>> she was often beaten by
samuel because she did notaccept some of the situations he
proposed she engage in withother women.
he would wait until the girlsturned 14 to be able to
penetrate them fully, but hewould other have them masturbate
him or engage in oral sex whenthey were as young as nine or
10.>> all of us women who were
young girls there are not in thesame boat.
we are all because of abuse.you see them and they are like
zombies.they think that they are
involved in something good.they think it is a blessing.
but the truth is, it is abuse.>> sergio was samuels
chauffeur.disappointed that la luz del
mundo took the best years of hislife by sending him to new areas
to open new temples, he thinks ahereditary church is a farce
established by the joaquinfamily.
>> where do you find in thebible that an apostle engenders
another possible?where do you get that from the
bible?>> he says he witnessed how the
sexual abuse culture was part ofthe churchs structure when he
was sent to investigate a pastorin the state of chihuahua.
>> that man in his dark heartand his malice built a bathroom
next to the pastoral house.but the wall of the bathroom
faced the window of his house,so whenever the girls would
bathe, he would look at them.the pastor had molested almost
all the girls in the church.>> according to him, he pastor
was transferred to anotherplace.
in 1997, the church was not ableto control the silence, and
there were several scandals thepress found out about, as r
icardo remembers.he announced the all-powerful
samuel joaquin.>> there was this gigantic
ghetto with thousands of peoplewithin the city of guadalajara,
such an important city.they were giving all of their
devotion to a living god.he was a common man.
if you saw him on the street youwould have no idea he had that
much power.>> the sexual abuse charges did
not go anywhere.>> we were not able to continue
with the investigation, becausewe did not have enough
information.what i do remember is that he
was afraid.he thought that he may have made
it through this, but he may notsurvive again.
>> i would not be surprised ifthe attempt on my life was a
birthday gift to samuel.>> he died and left us a legacy
this temple of secrets, built inone of the most conservative
catholic cities in mexico.a story that, hes witnessed for
23 years.>> we try to get an interview
with its leader in vain.>> when we return, the supreme
leader of the church la luz delmundo is arrested and is facing
serious charges.>> for this church, hes not
just the pastor.they believe he is the chosen
one, cho>> beneath the structures of
these majestic temples,witnesses say the darkest secret
was hidden.it was a network of tunnels.
we learned what the routes wereand what they were used for.
[cheering]>> here is the heart of the
church la luz del mundo.its also been the center of
scandals and accusations ofabuse since 1997.
>> a man is accusing the servantof god of stabbing him all over
his body.>> it is called la hermosa,
founded in the 1950s.they are eight streets with
biblical names.>> it was like entering another
place.another landscape, different way
of dressing.with customs that were
different.>> renee, a social scientist,
has been studying this religionfor over 30 years.
>> one of the common elementswas surveillance.
>> what was not common for herwas how samuel joaquin moved
from one place to another duringthe celebration of the church,
which brings together almost onemillion photographers.
>> the photographer was waitingto take a picture at the balcony
and when i got next to him hesaid he never entered.
he did not enter through a door.>> her experience confirms what,
for many, was a legend, but aopen secret for othersn, that
under this roundabout there wasa series of tunnels.
>> i was only in some of thetunnels, but yes, they are all
over the province.>> they communicate his offices
to different parts of thetemple.
>> they take you to the temple,the pastoral office, to jericho
house.there are different exits.
>> during pretrial testimony,one detective mentioned a room
inside the temple where one ofthe victims said she was
sexually abused several times.>> there is furniture in the
room, there is a wall ofmirrors.
there is a large, oversized,almost seven foot tall teddy
bear on the left side of theroom.
there is a couch and otherfurniture also.
there is also fake butterfliessuspended from the ceiling.
>> this is her attorney.she injuries with -- agrees with
the testimony.>> i have seen a picture of one
of the rooms.there is a bedroom and it has,
like, a large stuffed animal inthe room.
you know, when she saw thatpicture she recognized that was
one of the secret rooms.>> the attorney says she was
abused as a child by samueljoaquin, the father of the
self-proclaimed apostle ofchrist.
>> and he proceeded to kiss herand take off work c -- off her
clothes.then he laid with her and forced
himself upon her and had sexualintercourse with her.
>> they also said that naasonasked that drugs and alcohol be
given to the girls so they wouldbe more complacent.
>> mr. garcia talked aboutdrugging young girls to make
them more relaxed.>> he told a blogger he also
knew the tunnels.>> what was most interesting to
me was that there was a tunnel.you have got to move a marble
wall.it was filled with firearms.
>> sochil says the tunnels hadanother purpose.
>> he simply did not want towalk on the street and say hello
to anybody.construction of the temple took
almost nine years.this man ask we protect his
identity.he said he participated in the
building of the church, which heestimated costs about $50
million.>> we saw the hallways and make
sure somebody could walk throughthem comfortably.
i thought it was simply to movearound in.
under the ground there is atunnel.
to the main office.>> this is where the leaders
would come out to greet peoplefrom the balconies.
he says that the tunnels wereused to get to naasons office.
young women were taken to thesetunnels and taken to the private
chambers of the leader.>> there is a passageway that
leads to the altar, which leadsfollowers to believe he can be
in multiple places at once.>> there is a vault with a 12
inch solid wall..
>> martin says in those vaultsthere was gold and a lot of
not just pesos, but dollars andeuros.
>> is approximately 272 feettall.
they wanted to send a message ofgrandeur and power.
people who study the behavior offollowers, they say that the
number of followers after hisarrest has gone down.
spokespeople for the churchrefused to speak with us.
weeks after his arrest, this iswhat they said.
>> we do not anticipate adecrease.
on the contrary.>> in la hermosa, drugs and
alcohol is not allowed.it is a mini city was schools, a
market, a bank, and soon ahospital.
massive baptisms are heldoccasionally here.
>> this is a very special dayfor me.
>> you could say it is the mostspecial day in my life.
>> since that day, jasminemartinez, like many other
followers, will have to wearlong dress, will have to cover
her head, and not be able to usemakeup or jewelry.
until she gets married, her freetime will be devoted to the
church.>> the dress code is part of the
doctrine, written in theapostolic letters.
>> while the trial againstnaason continues, inside the
church followers gather threetimes a day to either pray, or
for their leaders release.>> they will have to keep this
going and create an analogybetween this unjust sacrifice
that naason is experiencing andequate it to the crucifixion of
jesus christ.>> we were slaves and now we are
free thanks to the grace of ourlord.
>> after a break, withinvestigations in mexico and the
united states, la luz del mundois accused of being
power-hungry.>> they wanted 40>> the power of the la luz del
mundo church has allowed it togain control of neighborhoods'
churches and have an economicemporium.
they have also stoppedinvestigations against them for
over 20 years.we found documents about an
>> in may 2019, la luz del mundowas celebrating that its leader,
naason joaquin, had received atribute at the palace of fine
arts and he turned 50.at the end, he gave thanks,
public opinion was shocked in acountry where there is a strict
separation of church and state.>> there were prominent members
of the current administration,the morena administration,
giving tribute to the man.>> the president responded to
the scandal.>> are we going to be tolerant
or not?or are we only going to be
tolerant of things that we arein favor with?
>> two weeks later, joaquin wasdetained in california, accused
of physical beach.the church has -- physical
abuse.the church has defended him.
>> it reflects a political backinto a church that has been
investigated for sexual abusesince 1997.
>> there are new allegationsagainst the current leader,
samuel joaquin.he got close --
>> he got close, he placed hishand in the front of my pants.
>> he said he was a king andneeded women who would bathe and
perfume him.>> he had political power.
thats why these allegations didnot go anywhere.
>> the accusations only worsened-- the accusations against him
worsened.>> it is not correct that a man
of god, a religious leader touchyou, take off your clothing.
it is not right for you to takepictures for him, to dance for
him, that you have to engage insexual acts for that person.
that is not godly.that is sexual abuse.
>> i am an apostle of jesuschrist.
>> the mexican attorneysgenerals office opened an
investigation in june of 2019.we had --univision investiga had
exclusive access to it.>> there are allegations of
human trafficking.some men and women have been
forced, pressured, lied to aswell.
fraud has been committed so theycan serve their leader.
>> the mexican investigation hadan evaluation that said that
sochil martin had experienced apsychological trauma the way
that victims of sexualtrafficking exhibit.
>> there were rapes.i got to see how friends of
naason, politicians, sometimeseven journalists, writers would
come.not ministers of the church.
their friends.>> for its part, the
investigation also includedtestimony from another witness.
she told authorities that naasonsexually abused her when she was
a virgin, and for three yearsshe was his sexual slave.
several church members werementioned.
among them is israel zamora, thesenator who got the permit for
the event.he says he respects the process
in the united states and noinformation has been asked from
him.>> there are other people who
were involved that need to beinvestigated.
>> at the same time, thefinancial unit in mexico
investigated another angle, theroute the money took.
>> they have properties and carsall over the world.
>> they found that the churchwas using followers as shell
names to hide assets.naason joaquin was receiving a
salary as though these shellcompanies were small businesses
that he worked for.this is the headquarters of la
luz del mundo.for mexico city and the central
part of the country.mexican authorities found out
that naason joaquin was thelegal trustee and -- trustee of
this and four other churcheswhile he was also a stockholder
in another company that dealt.with the churches.
>> basalt money to the u.s. andthey triangulated these
resources.>> the money from the followers
was deposited in the churchaccounts.
that was sent to differentjurisdictions and then ended up
in accounts that naasoncontrolled directly.
>> i was not working for god, iwas working for a multimillion
dollar enterprise.>> sergio was a pastor of the
church for decades and he sawhow the joaquin family lived
like millionaires while thechurch followers lived in
poverty.for him, one of the examples of
how they lived happened duringthe russian world cup.
he reported this video whichturned viral showing how naason
traveled to russia with hisfamily.
the money belongs to theapostle.
>> in mexico, naasons attorneyshave been able to stop an
investigation into the churchproperties.
>> why do -- how do politiciansprofit from la luz del mundo?
>> it is a perverserelationship.
the religious leaders in thepolitical leaders use people.
why?for their own gain, so they can
give money to the church or votein elections.
>> let them speak.let them say the church has
reached the highest ground.>> i think the power of the
church is very strong.>> the husband of sochil martin,
who was the political liaison inthe church, explains that for
naason joaquin, politicalrelationships were very
important.>> he wanted to have 40 federal
congresspeople.from there, to form a political
party.>> guzman indicated there was
very little advance -- verylittle progress in the
investigation.>> right now they want for them
to defend them politically.it is not possible that in
mexico the attorney generalsoffice is not doing anything,
given that in california, thereis a similar -- there are
similar charges against himsaying there were victims in
guadalajara.>> when we return.
>> good morning.>> an investigation reveals
generous donations and a lifefilled♪
>> the case against naasonjoaquin garcia opened up
questions regarding wheredonations ended up.
our reporter traveled to one ofthe properties.
>> in the united states, theproperties belonging to the
leaders of the la luz del mundochurch are worth a fortune.
they own a ranch with a zoo intexas.
this seafront home incalifornia.
and at least four others in losangeles county.
>> good morning.the joaquin family visits this
ranch in san bernardino,california frequently.
several victims of abuse saythat what keen would have sexual
parties here.the property has a value of
nearly $4 million.for parents of the girls it was
a source of pride that thesegirls would be chosen to serve
the leaders of the congregationin private.
>> they live like anymillionaire would.
>> in interviews with univision,the victims have also mentioned
these cabins in california.they stay in this complex
unknown until now but univisiondiscovered the father of samuel
joaquin would watch theprovocative dances these girls
would engage in.>> it was a complete village.
it was called joaquin village.they say it does not exist.
i have several friends i stilltalk to who say of course, i was
there.i got to dance there, i went
there, i served there.>> with the rest of naason, the
first chapter of theinvestigation ended.
during that time, detectivesgathered testimony and
audiovisual material that,according to them, served as
evidence of sexual abuse at thehand of the spiritual leader.
>> the series of videos ismultiple girls engaged in.
they ar naked or nudee.engaged in oral sex, vaginal
penetration.what i would describe as an
orgy.>> the defense questioned the
bail imposed on naason, thehighest ever in the state of
california.>> bail is not a leverage, a
constitutional extortion scheme.naasons attorneys have
questioned the evidence.>> because of the lack of
evidence that any of theindividuals in these
circumstances was under the ageof 18.
>> sochil martin filed a suit incalifornia and helped other
women break the silence.in her suit, martin admits she
recruited other young womenunder orders of the pastore.
she says naason asked forpictures of the girls wearing
underwear and having sex withanimals.
>> he would tell us who to find,how to find them, what skin
color, but kind of hair, how hewanted their eyes and lips to
be.>> martin says even after she
was married, she would continuehaving sexual relations with
naason.but one day her husband found
messages on herself run -- onher cell phone from the pastor.
>> she unplugged her iphone toplug in mind, and i saw that
moment she had a moment saying-- she had a message saying
naason had sent her a kiss.i sent my wife a kiss.
>> he checked the chat in whichhe refers to her -- to himself
as her boss.he asks her to take pictures
with a minor.she says she is going to do bad
things today.he said he likes playing with
her.>> for me, it was a shock.
i was thinking, it mi -- sochilmight be unfaithful to me, but
the servant of god would not dothis.
>> i told him the truth.they have been taking advantage
of you.he said this is not a man of
god.hes been raping you.
>> the couple reconciled anddecided to press charges against
the pastor.>> i love my wife.
i love my family and mydaughter.
for me, that is my priority.that is more important to me
than a cult or following a man.>> brendan also faced the
church.her husband is the son of a
pastor in minnesota.>> he would open the door.
i dont know how.and he would go inside and grope
his stepdaughters.>> my mom said if you say
something, forget you ever had afamily.
>> one of the most surprisingrevelations is that the fbi is
investigating naason.francisco, another former church
member, says federal agentsinterviewed him.
he described a moment when heasked him to describe his
girlfriend.>> he began rubbing himself and
he was grabbing his privateparts.
>> from jail, naason continuesleaving the church through
letters that are red in all ofthe temples.
>> am i in prison?yes.
hoping to come out soon.i know god will grant me that.
>> sochil martin continues herbattle.
>> it is necessary that peopleknow what is going on inside
this institution, la luz delmundo, so that girls who are my
daughters age, when they growup, know that the world is not
always what it seems.beautiful.
can be a very dark, dark placethat hides behind a religion.
>> naasons attorneys havedeclined to speak with
univision, but they spoke to thelos angeles times and said that
a laundry -- said they aretrying to get in good with the
attorney generals office bymaking false accusations.
>> this brings us to the end ofthis edition of.
>> thank you.see you next week.