Religious leader gets 23-yr prison sentence over sexual offenses

December 22, 2023

Jeong Myeong-seok, the leader of a controversial religious organization, the Jesus Morning Star (JMS), was sentenced by a court to 23 years in prison for sexual offenses Friday.

The Daejeon District Court handed down the sentence to the 78-year-old Jeong after finding him guilty of sexual assault and molestation.

Jeong was indicted on charges of raping and sexually molesting two female followers of foreign nationality on a total of 23 occasions between February 2018 and September 2021, as well as sexually abusing a South Korean female follower. He was also charged with making false statements by denying the allegations brought by the two foreign victims.

In the previous court hearing, prosecutors demanded an imprisonment of 30 years for Jeong.

Jeong, who refers to himself as the Messiah, or the second coming of Jesus, was released in 2018 after serving 10 years in prison for raping a number of female followers and embezzling funds from JMS.