Sacred Scandal

My Cultura and iHeartPodcasts

SEASON 2: La Luz del Mundo Sacred Scandal, named one of Podtrac’s Best New Podcasts of 2022, embarks on its second season, focusing on Mexico-based megachurch La Luz del Mundo (Light of the World). It tells the story of Naasón Joaquín García, a self-proclaimed apostle, who is currently behind bars after pleading guilty in June 2022 of sexually abusing girls from his congregation. Naasón is currently serving a nearly 17-year sentence, but maintains his innocence. Host and investigative journalist Roberta Garza explores Naasón's control over a multitude of devotees, some of whom now describe their experiences in the church as "pure evil." In this true-crime series, survivors share stories about this powerful religious leader and the alleged sexual abuse that followed, many relating to minors.   SEASON 1: Two decades ago on a calm, dark Miami night, a nun was stabbed nearly 100 times on the grounds of a prestigious private academy and monastery, by student Mykhaylo Kofel. As investigators started asking questions around this Byzantine Catholic School and the gruesome murder, they found more than just her killer. In a search for answers that stretches into some of the most remote villages of Eastern Europe, they uncovered allegations of sexual abuse, secret letters to the Vatican and other mysteries of faith. Sacred Scandal unravels the fuller picture that came to light in the wake of this crime. Led by a former student, told by those who lived through the aftermath, and Kofel himself, the show pieces together a complicated narrative that, twenty years later, still has those closest to it questioning what they truly believe… including a man who’s spent half his life in prison for the crime: “It’s so unbelievable. It definitely wasn’t me. I’m not a killer. No way. That’s not me.” — Mykhaylo Kofel, 2021      

  • 40 minutes 52 seconds
    The Nuns

    The bodies of four American Catholic nuns are found on the side of a rural road. As violence spiraled out of control, this tragic event sounded the alarms in the country that was the biggest sponsor of the Salvadoran military: the United States. 

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    13 June 2024, 7:00 am
  • 36 minutes 46 seconds
    The Executioner

    Roberto D’Aubuisson, a military officer who plotted a coup and came back as a respected political figure, was beloved by some but feared by many. He was a boogeyman of sorts, one that created and led vicious death squads that terrorized El Salvador. 

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    6 June 2024, 7:00 am
  • 39 minutes 11 seconds
    The Funeral

    Following the Archbishop’s murder, thousands gather to mourn Oscar Arnulfo Romero. His funeral becomes the battleground, where the two sides of the war finally show their faces.

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    30 May 2024, 7:00 am
  • 34 minutes 25 seconds
    Oscar

    On March 24th, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was presiding over mass when he was shot through the heart. His gruesome and public murder sent a signal to the people of El Salvador: None of you are sacred. None of you are safe. The Archbishops death would spark a war that would change the lives of thousands of people, including our host, Jasmine Romero. While on a quest to understand the Archbishops murder, she finds deaths in her own family that connect back to the slain priest. 

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    23 May 2024, 7:00 am
  • 2 minutes 43 seconds
    Introducing: Sacred Scandal: Nation of Saints

    In 1980, one man held together a fragile peace in the tiny nation of El Salvador: Archbishop Oscar Romero. When he is brutally and publicly assassinated on the pulpit, his murder starts a war that would leave 75,000 dead, and a million more displaced around the globe. Sacred Scandal season 3, Nation of Saints, follows host Jasmine Romero as she uncovers the holy war that followed the Archbishop's death, and led to an unsolved murder in her own family. 

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    16 May 2024, 7:00 am
  • 37 minutes 47 seconds
    La Luz Del Mundo: Finding The Force Within

    Leaving a high control group isn’t as simple as walking out through the front door. A cult is not simply a physical location, it’s a lifestyle, a belief system, a community and a state of mind.

    So is it possible to know if the preacher, the yoga guru, or the beloved politician you, or a loved one, are so taken with, is really a narcissistic psychopath cult leader in disguise?

    In this episode, we attempt to highlight some of the signs, that can signal the red flags.

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    10 August 2023, 7:00 am
  • 39 minutes 41 seconds
    La Luz Del Mundo: A Deal With The Devil

    Through the perspective of whistleblower Sochil Martin and the emergence of an online forum, we delve into the intricate web of events that led to the downfall of Naason Joaquin, the leader of the controversial religious organization La Luz del Mundo.

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    3 August 2023, 7:00 am
  • 37 minutes 55 seconds
    La Luz Del Mundo: The Jane Does

    The counts against Naason are plenty.  The Accusations are damning!  And finally, after countless postponements, the five Jane Does get ready to face their abuser in court. But nothing goes as planned.

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    27 July 2023, 7:00 am
  • 28 minutes 42 seconds
    La Luz Del Mundo: The Life and Death of Karem Leon

    We dive into the life of Karem León to better understand what LLDM has in store for those that dare to push against the church’s airtight defenses.

    In 1997, Moises Padilla, Amparo Aguilar and Karem Leon spoke out against La Luz del Mundo, but their accusations were ignored, leading to devastating consequences for the victims. When members leave the cult, there’s ongoing trauma. In the case of Karem de Leon – who faced constant threats from the organization – that led to her tragic death. 

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    20 July 2023, 7:00 am
  • 37 minutes 24 seconds
    La Luz Del Mundo: Show Me The Money

    The leaders of LLDM, known as the "royal family," preach about austerity and sacrifice to their followers, but behind the scenes, they live in opulence with luxurious mansions and private zoos. The question remains: where is all this wealth coming from, and what is the true source of the church's financial power? In this episode, we dive into the finances of LLDM and uncover the secrets behind their lavish lifestyle.

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    13 July 2023, 7:00 am
  • 27 minutes 43 seconds
    La Luz Del Mundo: The Groomers Handbook

    Where does the victim end and the perpetrator begin? The story of Alondra Ocampo, Naason's confidant and also a survivor.

    To understand how Alondra Ocampo: the victim, became Alondra Ocampo: the predator – we take a closer look at the inner workings of the cult - the tight control, the constant fear, the guilt and shame, the psychological manipulation - that is life inside La Luz Del Mundo.

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    6 July 2023, 7:00 am
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