Thu, Apr 12, 2018 - Page 6 News List

S Korean ex-presidential hopeful indicted for rape

FALL FROM GRACE:Ahn Hee-jung, a popular figure among young, liberal voters, was seen as a strong contender to replace Moon Jae-in

AFP, SEOUL

Former South Korean presidential contender Ahn Hee-jung arrives at the prosecutors’ office in Seoul on March 9 for questioning over allegations of sexual assault.

Photo: AFP

A former South Korean presidential contender was yesterday indicted on charges of raping his aide multiple times in the highest-profile case of the nation’s growing #MeToo movement.

Ahn Hee-jung — who was widely seen as a strong contender to replace South Korean President Moon Jae-in when his term ends in 2022 — was formally charged with rape and sexual harassment by abuse of power, a spokesman at the Seoul Western District Prosecutors’ Office said.

The spokesman said that Ahn’s first hearing is expected next month.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into Ahn after his aide said in a television interview that he had raped her four times since she was hired in June last year.

POWER PLAY

Fighting back tears, Kim Ji-eun, who was Ahn’s personal assistant before becoming an aide in civil affairs, last month said that she had been unable to reject her boss in the rigid hierarchy of her office.

The 54-year-old politician has since stepped down from his post as the governor of South Chungcheong Province and issued a formal apology.

However, he has claimed the sex was “consensual.”

However, detailed accounts from the victim as well as testimonies from witnesses provided evidence of Ahn’s crimes, an official at the prosecutors’ office told Yonhap news agency.

A second woman had come forward shortly after Kim’s interview, but prosecutors said her case would be excluded due to lack of evidence.

Ahn will not be physically detained as the court has denied the prosecutors’ demand for an arrest warrant.

It has been an astonishing fall from grace for Ahn, who enjoyed huge popularity among young, liberal voters thanks to his wholesome image and good looks.

Ahn came second to Moon in the contest for the ruling Democratic Party’s presidential nomination last year and was seen as a favorite for the next elections.

#METOO?

Ahn threw his support behind the #MeToo campaign against abuse of women in a public speech made just hours before Kim appeared on live TV to talk about the sex abuse she allegedly suffered at his hands.

Victims of sex abuse in patriarchal South Korea are reluctant to come forward due to fears of public shaming.

However, Seo Ji-hyeon, a prosecutor, in January made the rare move of appearing on live TV to talk about sex abuse by her superior.

Her interview opened a floodgate of similar revelations by women who accused figures, including politicians, actors and film directors.

This story has been viewed 1329 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top