Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Councilor identifies suspected rapist of dead author

By Wong Jung-hsiang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party Kaohsiung City Councilor Hsiao Jung-ta, center, speaks yesterday at a news conference about a case of alleged sexual misconduct by a cram-school teacher.

Photo: CNA

Kaohsiung City Councilor Hsiao Jung-ta (蕭永達) yesterday accused a cram-school teacher of seducing and raping a young writer during her school years.

The 26-year-old writer, whose name is being withheld to protect her identity, died in an apparent suicide last week.

Her novel, published in February, is about a young girl who was raped by her teacher.

Her parents said that their daughter’s book was partly autobiographical and that trauma from the alleged rape caused her death.

Hsiao named the teacher and his place of employment.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilor told a news conference that he was willing to bet his political career on the truthfulness of his accusations and challenged the teacher to sue him if he was lying.

Hsiao said the teacher should take responsibility by apologizing to the deceased, her family and the public, in addition to retiring from teaching.

Kaohsiung Education Bureau official Chang Shu-fen (張淑芬) said that if the teacher is found to have broken the law, the case would be referred to an evaluation committee under Article 9 of the Supplementary Education Act (補習及教育進修法), which may result in the teacher’s firing and the revocation of the cram school’s license.

Chang said that although Hsiao’s accusations identified the alleged perpetrator, the bureau does not believe that his comments had violated the victim’s privacy and he would not be fined.

However, DPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Luo Ding-cheng (羅鼎城), an attorney with experience in sexual assault-related litigation, said it is hard to prove rape in court for sex acts between a person over 16 years of age and a teacher, unless the teacher used his position to coerce the student.

Hsiao might have exposed himself to a slander lawsuit by making a public accusation and naming the teacher, Luo said.

Hsiao said that after the author’s suicide on Thursday, a third party passed the information to him through intermediaries in the hope that he would get justice for the victim and her family.

“I have evaluated the situation and decided to make the accusation. I am willing to take any and all legal responsibility, and bet my political career on it,” he said.

Hsiao added there are a “whole pack of wolves” preying on students at cram schools and education authorities should take measures to protect young women.

The Humanistic Education Foundation’s southern Taiwan office director Chang Ping (張萍) said her office recently received two reports of alleged rapes at cram schools.

Since 2011, about 40 to 50 teachers are fired each year over rape or sexual harassment allegations, and about 200 of those former teachers are believed to have found employment in cram schools, Chang said.

The foundation has been lobbying education authorities to set up a system of background checks for potential cram school employees and to enhance sex education to let children know how to protect themselves, she said.

The Supplementary Education Act should be amended to bolster government oversight of behavior and standards of cram-school employees, Chang said.

Separately yesterday, Kaohsiung Supplementary Education Association president Chen Hsin-hsiung (陳信雄) said that the organization requires members to hire only instructors who can provide a clean Police Criminal Record Certificate.

However, while the association has about 200 members, non-association members outnumber them by about five to one, he said.

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