• Megachurch leader who wants to build in Georgia accused of sex trafficking

    By: Tom Regan

    Updated:

    HALL COUNTY, Ga. - The leader of a megachurch looking to build in Georgia has been arrested in a major sex trafficking case. 

    The California attorney general arrested Joaquin Garcia and three others on charges of sex trafficking, child rape and child pornography.  

    García runs La Luz Del Mundo, the Mexico-based megachurch that wants to build a massive, 300-acre development off Hog Mountain Road in Hall County.

    Channel 2's Tom Regan has been following the church's development since the proposal was made in September. 

    David Nixon speaks for many homeowners who opposed the church development. They first worried about the impacts on roads and property values. They are now concerned about the charges.

    'We want things that are going to add to the community and make it better, not take away from it," Nixon said.

    Diane Morehead has lived in Flowery Branch for over a decade. She told Regan the charges against the church leader make him unwelcomed.

    'We have young families here with young children. We don't need something like that," Morehead said.



    Authorities say the charges against Garcia and three others involve three girls and a woman in Los Angeles County. A church spokesperson rejected the allegations.

    “The apostle of Jesus Christ has adhered to the law and demonstrated full respect to governmental institutions and the dignity of all persons,” David Correa said.

    According to the Flowery Branch website, the church applied for a zoning change to start the massive development.

    Gary Teague, who also lives here, says the city should think twice about giving the go ahead.

    'We are all a bit upset about it. We're worried about it," Teague told Regan. "For someone of a religious nature, for charges of this magnitude, it's clearly a cause of concern."

    According to the Flowery Branch website, the church applied for a zoning change to start the massive development.

    Regan reached out to the city to find out how the allegations might affect the decision, but hasn’t heard back.

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