Church founder admits to 22 counts of rape

Kyoto, Japan - Tamotsu Kin, a Kyoto Prefecture church founder facing charges of raping and indecently assaulting young girls at the church admitted to the charges against him as the second hearing in his criminal trial opened in the Kyoto District Court on Tuesday.

Kin faces charges of violating seven young girls in 22 incidents, including one attempted incident, between March 2001 and September 2004, in locations including the pastor's office at the Seishin Chuo Kyokai church in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture.

Questioning Kin over the attacks, Presiding Judge Takeshi Uegaki asked him, "Is it right you are not going to argue about the 22 incidents and the seven (victims)?" Kin replied, "Yes."

In the opening hearing of his trial on June 21, Kin would neither deny nor confirm the facts of the charges against him.

In spite of Kin's confession, his lawyers said they were prepared to argue the legal interpretation of "quasi-rape" charges against Kin, relating to whether the victims were able to resist him.

Prosecutors said Kin regularly told church members in his sermons, "If you show resistance you will suffer in hell." Because of this the victims were unable to resist him, prosecutors allege.

Lawyers for Kin said they would argue against the prosecutors' stance, but they agreed on all of the evidence presented in the case, which includes written testimonies from the victims.

During the trial, prosecutors read out some of the testimonies from the female victims.

"It was like torture for me, but I was stopped from speaking out to avoid being expelled from the church. I thought being expelled was the same as going to hell," one girl said.

"At first I didn't want to make it public, but (Kin) wouldn't admit to the truth and futilely denied (what happened) so I filed charges to have him judged in front of everyone," "I definitely didn't like being raped, and it was horrible and scary, but I thought that enduring rape was better than being forsaken by God," other testimonies read.