The Korea Herald


JMS leader’s aides arrested as key accomplices to sex crimes

By Park Jun-hee

Published : April 18, 2023 - 15:22

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Poster image of “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal” (Netflix) Poster image of “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal” (Netflix)

Two aides of religious organization leader Jeong Myeong-seok, who was previously convicted with the sexual molestation of his female followers, were arrested on Tuesday as accomplices to Jeong’s alleged sex crimes.

The Daejeon District Court issued arrest warrants for the two individuals, citing their flight risk and the possibility of evidence being destroyed. Arrest warrants for four other former officials of the religious group were dismissed as they have since left the group.

One of the two accomplice is Kim Ji-sun, known to be second-fiddle to Jeong, and an official of the Christian Gospel Mission, widely known as the Jesus Morning Star (JMS) religious group. The two are accused of allegedly luring women to have sexual intercourse with Jeong.

In particular, the prosecution charged Kim as a perpetrator of sexual assault, considering her role in JMS. Kim is reportedly known as Jeong’s successor and a powerful figure in the religious organization.

Multiple sexual abuse allegations were raised against Jeong and his aides after the release of the Netflix documentary series titled “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal,” which shed light on the religious group and its misconduct, including brainwashing and Jeong's alleged sexual abuse of numerous female believers. The eight-part series also discussed three other religious figures and their alleged crimes.

Following the release of the series, Jeong's confidants have flatly denied allegations that they had taken part in aiding his sexual assault crimes, claiming that they were the ones who actually helped separate and protect female victims from Jeong.

But the victims refuted these claims, saying that Kim and her aides were the ones who took the victims to Jeong’s room. The victims added that the accomplices would know “very well” about the sexual crimes Jeong has allegedly committed.

Jeong was arrested and indicted on charges of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old former JMS member, a Hong Kong national, 17 times from February 2018 to September 2021 at a training center in South Chungcheong Province. He is also accused of touching the body of a 30-year-old Australian believer five times from July 2018 to the end of that year. In January, three Korean female JMS members also sued Jeong, claiming that they were also victims of his sex crimes.

Jeong walked free on parole in February 2018 after serving 10 years in prison for molesting four foreign JMS members in their 20s from August 2001 to April 2006.