Lee Jae-Rock, 75, was jailed for 15 years by a Seoul court after being charged with raping eight female followers attending his Manmin Central Church multiple times.
Seoul Central District Court judge Chung Moon-Sung said that victims assaulted by the pastor "unable to resist as they were subject to the accused's absolute religious authority" and even shut his eyes as judges issued a verdict, according to the BBC.
The cult leader has plead not guilty, but Judge Chung "through his sermons the accused has indirectly or directly suggested he is the holy spirit, deifying himself".
But the cultist has a dark history spanning decades, the New York Times reported.
"While attending his church from an early age, the victims were led to believe that the way to heaven lay in treating the accused like God and obeying him," the article said quoting Judge Chung.
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Lee had spearheaded "many mega-size crusades in and out of Korea to have become known as a worldwide and powerful revivalist," the Manmin Central Church's website said, with another page claiming that "miraculous healings have been manifested wherever [Lee] conducted crusades and revivals" and that using prayer, Lee became "a pure vessel that loved God with his whole life".
Roughly 30 percent of South Koreans are Christian, figures state. However, Mr. Lee's church was widely denounced as a cult, with the leader claiming to have cured numerous ailments, including HIV, scoliosis, cancer, and dwarfism as well as resolving climate change and stopping blizzards, the church website and others said.