By Bae Ji-sook
The Supreme Court upheld a 10 year-imprisonment sentence on Jung Myung-suk, the leader of the JMS (Jesus Morning Star) religious cult Thursday for the rape and sexual assault of five Korean female followers.
Jung was indicted for sexually assaulting the victims between 2003 and 2006 in Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. A lower court convicted him on three counts sentencing him to a six-year-prison term, but a high court extended this to 10 years convicting him on all five counts.
Last January, the top court ordered Jung to pay two former followers 10 million won and 50 million won each in compensation.
Jung was extradited from China last year and was handed over to the Korean police after being on the local wanted list since 1999 and the Interpol Red Notice since 2004. He fled the country after the rape charges emerged. He was also allegedly involved in seven other embezzlement, sexual assault and fraud cases.
Jung reportedly asserts that he is the Messiah with the responsibility to save mankind, and has new teachings to finish the incomplete message and mission of Jesus Christ. Former group members testified that his followers still view him as a president, teacher and Lord.