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Sexual torture and sex scandal

Posted December. 17, 2012 05:55,   


An instance of sexual torture occurred at an investigation room of the Bucheon Police Agency in Gyeonggi Province one early morning in June 1986. Corporal Moon Gwi-dong was questioning a female student at Seoul National University who was arrested on the charge of disguising herself as a laborer and working at a factory. Moon hit her breasts with his hand a few times, urging her to name those behind anti-government protests. After she refused to open her mouth, he took off her pants, T-shirt and even her bra. This was called "sexual torture in Bucheon." Moon was sentenced to five years in prison in a case that occurred at the end of Korea`s era of dictatorial rule, also known as the Fifth Republic. Huge political and social ramifications would ensue.

On Nov. 10 this year, a 3-year-old prosecutor at the Seoul District Prosecutors Office had sex with a 43-year-old housewife who was summoned for allegedly stealing household supplies worth 4.3 million won (4,003 U.S. dollars). The woman said, “When I cried, the prosecutor caressed me as if trying to calm me down. He forced me to have sex with him.” The prosecutor said, however, “She sobbed and threw herself to me over the course of the investigation.” The woman`s husband was waiting outside the investigation room, and the prosecutor claims that she was the one who seduced him.

Both of these cases involve sex between a man with investigative authority and a woman who is helpless before him. The former is called “sexual torture" while the latter is referred to a “sex scandal.” The student’s case was called a "ruthless human rights violation" by authorities while the housewife was considered an accomplice of the prosecutor. In the latter case, the woman could have resisted the man`s advances but chose to have consensual sex. Prosecutors considered the latter case to be about bribery, with one saying, “She had sex with the intent to seek lenient punishment.” A court twice rejected prosecutors’ requests for an arrest warrant, saying, “Nothing was proven that it was based on reciprocity.”

A clause in the law on cruel actions can punish a prosecutor even if no sexual violence is committed. Acts subject to prosecution include sexual humiliation or adultery. Though the clause could have been applied because the case involved sex, prosecutors stuck to bribery charges for fear of being perceived as violating human rights. Prosecutors, however, showed that they are insensitive to human rights by circulating the woman`s photo on their shared server. Fortunately, the Supreme Prosecutors Office decided to prosecute the prosecutor without arrest on the charge of abuse of authority and cruel action instead of bribery. Belatedly, the case has gotten closer to what it truly is.

City Desk Reporter Shin Gwang-yeong (neo@donga.com)