Tainan District prosecutors yesterday said they have searched the Taipei residence of cram-school teacher Chen Kuo-hsing (陳國星) and listed him as a suspect in the investigation into the suicide of a young writer, who was allegedly sexually abused in her teens.
Prosecutors said that they questioned Chen in the company of his two lawyers for about two hours on Tuesday and released him after taking down his statement.
“We have listed him as a defendant for offenses against sexual autonomy [妨害性自主罪] and have searched his Taipei residence to gather evidence in connection with the investigation,” Tainan Deputy Chief Prosecutor Chen Chien-hung (陳建弘) said.
The search was carried out on Tuesday, prosecutors said, adding that they cannot divulge details because it is an ongoing investigation.
Moreover, since the criminal allegations are sexual in nature, they need to protect the rights and identity of the alleged victim, they said.
Prosecutors urged the parents of the 26-year-old writer, surnamed Lin (林), to cooperate with investigators and judicial officials by providing personal items, such as diaries left by Lin, so they could compare them with Chen’s statement and determine if he had any bearing on Lin’s suicide.
As of yesterday, prosecutors were unable to contact Lin’s parents.
However, Lin’s parents have relayed messages through their friends saying they were under stress following their daughter’s death and busy with funeral arrangements and, therefore could not talk to prosecutors about the investigation.
The case came under the media spotlight when Lin committed suicide on April 27. Her parents said their daughter’s novel about a teen who was raped by her teacher was a depiction of her life.
Suspicion on who might have abused Lin nine years ago fell on Chen, a popular cram-school teacher of Chinese literature.
Lin attended his classes when she was a high-school student in Tainan.
Lin had been open about having depression, which some reports attributed to her being a victim of sexual assault.
In recent weeks, there were allegations that Lin might not be the only victim.
Chen issued a public statement on Tuesday, saying he had “an affair with Lin for two months in 2009,” during which time Lin had graduated from high school and enrolled for college.
He claimed it was a “romantic relationship,” and not a teacher seducing a female student under his charge.
He said his wife had accepted his explanation and apology over the extramarital affair.
Some legal experts said Chen’s statement was an attempt to evade legal responsibility.
By claiming he had a relationship with Lin for two months starting in August 2009 — by which time Lin was already 18 — he could not be prosecuted for having sex with a minor, they said.
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