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Mon, Nov 12, 2001 - Page 2 News List

S Korean religious figure faces sexual assault accusations

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei prosecutors will investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against a South Korean religious figure operating in Taiwan, police said yesterday.

Chung Myung-seok (鄭明析), founder of the South Korean Jesus Morning Star Church (南韓攝理教會), is suspected of sexually assaulting his female followers.

A Chinese-language magazine said Chung had sexually assaulted the women, many of them students from National Taiwan and National Chengchi universities, telling them it was part of a religious ceremony. The accusation prompted the police to investigate.

A church's Taipei branch yesterday opened its morning service to the pubic to try to assuage people's fears about the religion.

Huang Ching-yuan (黃清源), the pastor of the branch, responded to the allegations against Chung, saying he "is the most innocent and the most close to Jesus" of all the people he knew.

Huang said the church did not perform any kind of unusual religious services.

This was the first denial from a prominent member of the church of the allegations against Chung. When the accusations were first made public earlier this week, no church members were available to comment.

The Jesus Morning Star Church has been surrounded by controversy since it came to Taiwan several years ago.

Three years ago, the church was accused of performing unusual religious services, the police said. The case was dropped because no one would make a formal complaint against the church.

Chung is wanted in South Korea on charges of sexual assault.

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