Wed, May 02, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Probe into ex-minister’s alleged sex assault starts

SERIOUS:Former minister of foreign affairs Chen Chien-jen denied a neighbor’s allegations that he blackmailed and sexually assaulted her, and has appointed a lawyer

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Former minister of foreign affairs Chen Chien-jen appears in a file photo taken on March 24.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Prosecutors yesterday said they have launched an investigation into allegations that former minister of foreign affairs Chen Chien-jen (程建人) sexually assaulted a woman.

Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office spokesman Yen Nai-wei (顏迺偉) said police in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sijhih District (汐止) had interviewed the woman and Chen, and that the statements collected have been handed over to prosecutors for further investigation.

Media reports said the 54-year-old woman told police on April 18 that she and Chen had dinner on April 7 at a Yoshinoya eatery in Sijhih.

After dinner, Chen invited her to his residence, where she was sexually assaulted, she said.

The reports said the woman told police she and Chen live in the same apartment complex.

The woman told police that as Chen’s wife lives in the US most of the time, she often visits Chen to help take care of his affairs.

She said Chen first sexually assaulted her in August last year and that he had used nude photographs of her to blackmail her and had assaulted her on several occasions since.

Chen has denied the allegations, saying the woman had invited him to dinner at a Yoshinoya eatery on April 7 and that they were only there for a short time.

Chen said the woman never entered his residence and he never went to her home.

He told reporters the woman harassed him after dinner. Although he did not know her intentions, he believed the woman was a “strange neighbor” who spoke and acted oddly.

He said he and his family members have been seriously harassed by the woman and that her actions led him to file a complaint with police.

Reports said the complaint, which Chen filed on April 20, asked police to stop the woman from harassing him, but stopped short of asking the authorities to press charges against her because she was a neighbor.

The allegations against him are the result of her “illusions,” said Chen, who has since delegated the matter to his lawyer.

Chen’s lawyer said sexual assault was a serious accusation and that his client was “ready to face it squarely.”

He also said that information he has collected so far is not consistent with the woman’s accusations.

The 73-year-old retired career diplomat was groomed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and served as a “caretaker” foreign minister in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). The DPP administration later appointed him to serve as the country’s representative to the US. His acceptance of the post was considered by some KMT members as a “defection.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on the case, saying Chen Chien-jen was no longer a government official.

Additional reporting by CNA

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