Lawyers eye cult rape accusations

The Japan Times/July 31, 2006

A group of lawyers is considering filing a criminal complaint with police accusing leaders of a cult of raping female followers.

Hiroshi Watanabe, head of the lawyers' group, said at a news conference Saturday they are considering filing charges against Jung Myung Seok, founder of the South Korean group JMS, and the leader of a Japanese arm of the cult called Setsuri (Providence).

South Korean authorities have put Jung, 61, on an international wanted list on rape charges.

Watanabe said the head of Setsuri persuaded Japanese women to join the cult, introduced them to Jung and took them to Jung's hideout.

Jung allegedly raped the women, Watanabe said, while they were under mind control.

JMS was established in South Korea around 1980 and became active in Japan around 1987. The Setsuri sect is believed to have more than 2,000 followers, mostly students and other young people, the lawyers said.

The cult has no headquarters in Japan and uses apartments for offices.

Watanabe said Setsuri usually passes itself off as a sports, music or cheerleading club on school campuses, or as a modeling group, and urged college administrators to take measures to prevent recruitment efforts among students.

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