• Kyodo

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A pastor of a Kyoto Prefecture church admitted in court Tuesday that he sexually abused seven girls who were members of his congregation between 2001 and 2004.

Tamotsu Kin, 62, a Japan-born South Korean national who headed the Central Church of Holy God in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture, said in his second trial session before the Kyoto District Court: “I will not dispute the allegations. I have nothing more to say.”

But his lawyer said Kin, who preached under the name of Tamotsu Nagata, will contest charges that he put the girls into a situation where they were unable to resist.

Kin was charged with sexually abusing the girls in his office on 22 occasions between March 2001 and September 2004, while telling them they would languish perpetually in hell if they acted against his will.

“I utterly hated it, but I (gave in) because otherwise I would be forsaken (by Kin). I could not resist him, when I thought I’d be sent to hell,” the prosecutors quoted one of the girls as saying.

They further quoted her as saying, “I was told (by Kin) to never tell anyone about what happened at the office.”

A former member of the church also reportedly said members were being forced to follow Kin’s orders under the threat of violence.

Kin denied making such threats while the case was being probed, and withheld a plea in his first trial session in June.

Police said the church at one time had about 3,000 members, but many have left since allegations surfaced in December that female followers were being assaulted.

After the day’s session, lawyer Chiemi Saga, who heads a victims’ group, said she did not believe Kin was repentant for his actions.

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