Founder of JMS cult convicted
Jung Myung-seok, a self-proclaimed messiah and founder of the JMS cult, was convicted by the country’s highest court yesterday of sex crimes against female believers and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday to uphold the Seoul High Court’s convictions of Jung as well as the 10-year sentence it handed down.
Jung was found guilty of raping or sexually assaulting five women during his time on the run in Malaysia, Hong Kong and China from 2001 to 2006.
“By taking advantage of his position as a religious leader, Jung committed heinous crimes but showed no remorse,” the ruling said. “Thus, it was inevitable for the court to hand down severe punishment.”
Following a series of media reports about earlier abuse allegations, Jung fled Korea in 1999. During his time on the run, a series of sexual abuse allegations surfaced in several countries as he expanded his cult abroad. Jung eventually was arrested in China and extradited to Korea last year to face prosecution.
The Seoul Central District Court initially handed him a six-year jail sentence, but the high court handed down a harsher sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment in February.
Formerly a member of the Unification Church, Jung established JMS - also known by the names Jesus Morning Star and Providence Church - in Seoul during the early 1980s.
By Ser Myo-ja [firstname.lastname@example.org]