PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Members of a local church continue to attend services despite their leader being arrested and jailed for sex crimes. The international leader of The Light of the World Church is behind bars in Los Angeles. The church is based in Mexico with locations across the world. Naason Garcia is accused of human trafficking and child porn - his bail is set at $50,000,000.
A banner with Garcia's image still hangs in front of the church. A spokesperson for the Phoenix location tells us they believe the justice system will eventually clear their leader of the shocking charges against him. Meanwhile. the church will continue to go on with their daily business.
Human trafficking, rape of a minor, and the production of child pornography - those are just some of the felonies in a 27-count complaint against 50-year-old Naason Joaquin Garcia. He and three others are accused of preying on victims, pressuring them to perform sexual acts by telling them if they went against Garcia's wishes, they were going against God. Local pastors proclaim Garcia's innocence.
"He's a man of integrity, he's a man of cleanliness," said Isaias Campos, spokesman and minister of the Phoenix church. "And for me - we are waiting that those charges will be dismissed."
Garcia was once a pastor at the Phoenix church more than two decades ago. Now he's considered an apostle of Jesus Christ. He was in Phoenix last year. Pastor Isaias says they're confident in the justice system, saying the charges will eventually be dropped.
"We definitely trust that's going to happen," Pasto Campos said. "At the end, he'll be proven innocent."
Meanwhile, members across the country are defending their leader.
"As a woman in the church, my experience has been a great experience," said a church member. "And my personal knowledge of the Apostle of Jesus Christ has been wonderful."
The Phoenix spokesperson of the church is currently in Los Angeles and says he's witnessed acts of hatred and violence against church leaders. He says one person walked into the Los Angeles church shouting obscenities and swinging fists at the pastors. Meanwhile, the California attorney general believes there are more victims and is urging them to come forward.