Lawyer hits back at allegations against Korean pastor

The Toronto Star/May 25, 2010

Reports that GTA pastor Jae-Kap (Joe) Song ran a sex cult and received his religious training from a California mail order firm are ridiculous fabrications, Song's lawyer says.

"That's a crock," Christophe Preobrazenski said in his first interview since Song was charged with sex-related offences in March. "The suggestion that this is a cult is absolute nonsense."

Preobrazenski said Song will be maintaining his innocence on a charge of inappropriately touching a female parishioner when his trial begins. No trial date has been set.

The name of his church cannot be reported because of a publication ban in a separate criminal case involving former members of the congregation of his Korean community church. In that case, another former church member was charged last week by Toronto police with gang sexual assault and sexual assault.

That brings to nine the the members of the congregation - including two women - who have been charged with sex-related offences since March. None of their names or the names of their alleged victims can be published.

Alleged offences include administering drugs for sex, threatening death, forcible confinement, assault and gang sexual assault.

The latest charges came after a sixth member of Song's congregation came forward to police and made allegations of sexual assault against the church's parishioners, but not against Song.

Preobrazenski made his comments in rebuttal to published comments by Jacqueline An, a lawyer for some members of his former congregation.

An accused Song of running a cult and orchestrating sexual assault charges against male members of the congregation.

She also said she didn't consider Song to be a true pastor or minister.

An could not be reached for comment.

Preobrazenski also lashed out at a broadcast report by a South Korean news crew, which aired a story that said Song's religious training came via the Internet, from a mail order firm in California.

Preobrazenski showed the Star a transcript of Song's four years of studies at the Chong-Shin College and Theological Seminary in Flushing, N.Y., which stated that Song began his religious studies there in March 1994 and graduated in May 1998 with a bachelor of divinity degree.

The transcripts stated that Song studied 56 courses, including the history of the church in Korea and liturgy.

"It (education) was so he could become a pastor and run a church, both in Canada and in Korea," Preobrazenski said of the courses. "Come on, this isn't a mail order firm, where you pay your $150 and get your degree."

Preobrazenski said Song came unfairly under attack after he made an effort to get answers to allegations of sexual misconduct inside the church he founded, rather than sweep them under the carpet.

"He's quite concerned," Preobrazenski said of Song. "Why? This brings pain to the church, pain to the congregation. Most of all, pain to the victims."

Update: Pastor found not guilty of sexual assault

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