• Kyodo

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A 61-year-old minister of a Protestant church in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture, was arrested Wednesday for allegedly sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl in his congregation, police said.

Tamotsu Kin, who heads the Central Church of Holy God, allegedly molested the girl at the church in the early hours of Jan. 13, 2002. Kin has denied the allegation, they said.

Police also arrested Yumie Kumagai, 38, a senior female staff member of the religious group, in connection with a separate case of assault on two followers in November 2004.

He told the girl to visit his room at around 1 a.m. The girl had stayed at the church overnight with her mother to attend an early morning service, police said.

Kin molested the girl in his room, telling her he would test her religious devotion, they alleged. He continued to molest her until late last year and told her never to tell anyone, they said.

A day before his arrest, relatives of more than 10 girls who allegedly suffered similar acts of molestation formed a victims’ group. The group plans to file a criminal complaint against Kin.

The girl’s mother filed a criminal complaint with police in March.

Police Wednesday searched the church and the home of Kin, a South Korean resident of Japan who preaches under the name Tamotsu Nagata. They said they are also investigating to learn if he was involved in other molestations.

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