Cult leader Jeong Myeong-Seok jailed for sex crimes
SEOUL – A South Korean cult leader who told followers to have sex with him to purge their sins was jailed for 10 years on Tuesday.
Jeong Myeong-Seok – whose JMS sect stands for both Jesus Morning Star and his initials – was convicted of raping or sexually assaulting four women between 2001 and 2006.
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An appeal court added four years to a lower court’s sentence of six years.
Jeong, now in his early 60s, fled South Korea in 1999, one day after rape allegations against him were broadcast on national television. He was formally charged in absentia with rape in 2001.
The cult leader was arrested in Hong Kong in 2003 for visa violations but later fled an extradition hearing. China extradited him to Seoul in February last year.
The offences for which Jeong was convicted were committed with followers while he was on the run overseas, but South Korean courts said they had jurisdiction because his victims were Koreans.
News reports have said Jeong, who founded his cult in the late 1980s, was still believed to have thousands of followers.