Pastor of scandal-plagued Korean church in Toronto on trial

The pastor of a scandal-plagued Toronto church told a parishioner that evil spirits would turn her into a hunchback-like creature, before he sexually assaulted her, an Orangeville, Ontario court heard on Tuesday.

The Toronto Star reports

Jae-Kap Song, an Orangeville grocer and once pastor of the now closed Jesus First Church, near Steeles and Islington Aves., also told the alleged victim her husband was cheating on her and pressured her to have “revenge” sex with him, the woman testified.

The 30-year-old alleged sexual assault victim, whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, said Song removed her bra, pants and underwear without her consent and assaulted her with his hand.

The alleged incident took place in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2010. Song was charged several months later, after nine members of his congregation were slapped with 485 charges — including gang rape — after Song accused them of sex crimes.

The church scandal made international headlines when it first erupted, bringing a swath of reporters from South Korea to the GTA to investigate a litany of lurid allegations. Most of the church members were South Koreans in Canada on student visas.

In October, the Crown dropped all charges against the nine members — including gang sexual assault, administering drugs for sex, threatening death, forcible confinement and assault — after a five-week pretrial, saying there was “no reasonable prospect of conviction.”

Song sat quietly in court on Tuesday — his wife behind him — as his accuser wept during parts of her testimony. […]

Jesus First Church once had a 50-member congregation made up of mostly South Korean women between the ages of 16 and 32. Many of the church’s followers were in Canada on student visas studying theology and traditional Chinese healing.

The nine members charged and then acquitted of sex crimes were from a faction of the church that opposed Song and accused him of widespread sexual improprieties, according to former church members. The alleged victims were four members of the church.

Song also faces charges in South Korea of mischief, threatening forcible confinement and defamation of character.

Former church members described Song as a fine orator and something of a prophet, who some believed had the power to read minds and predict the future.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday January 18, 2012.
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