Religious leader arrested in South Korea on sex assault charges

Jung Myung-seok, leader of Providence Church, charged with assaulting 2 women from Australia, Hong Kong.

Religious leader arrested in South Korea on sex assault charges

A religious leader was arrested in South Korea for allegedly sexually assaulting two women from Australia and Hong Kong, media reports said Wednesday.

A district court in Daejeon District ordered the arrest of Jung Myung-seok, 77, founder and leader of the Providence Church, also known as the Christian Gospel Mission, at the request of investigators, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

In March, Jung rejected the allegations made by the women and called them baseless. He warned legal action if any media outlet published “unverified” facts.

Kim Do-hyeong, an activist and former head of an anti-Jung Myung-seok group helping alleged victims, said five other victims were preparing to file sexual violence lawsuits against Jung, according to SCMP.

Jung served a 10-year prison sentence in a rape case and was released in 2018 after completing his time.

But after his release he was fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet and transferred to the Wolmyeongdong Sanctuary, the group’s off-limits hub in the southern city of Geumsan, where he allegedly victimized the women, said media reports.

Jung could face three years in prison if he is found guilty.