In Brief

Pastor jailed for rape claimed sex with followers was ‘an order from God’

South Korean megachurch leader took advantage of his power to assault eight women

The leader of a South Korean megachurch has been sent to prison for 15 years, after he was found guilty of molesting and sexually assaulting eight female followers.

Lee Jae-rock, the 75-year-old head of the controversial Manmin Central Church, reportedly told his victims that they were to have sex with him, as it was “an order from God”.

During sentencing, the court said the victims were “psychologically positioned to be powerless to disobey Lee, and Lee took advantage of their status to commit the crime”, The Washington Post reports.

The Korea Herald says Lee had been “banned from leaving the country after being accused of rape” in April, with the offences taking place between the late 1990s and 2015.

Lee, and the Manmin Central Church, are considered controversial by a number of mainstream Christian organisations in South Korea.

The disgraced pastor was ousted from the Christian Council of Korea in 1999 for his “heretical” beliefs, which included claims that he was “sinless and exempt from dying”.

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