Police Investigate South Chungcheong Governor An Hee Jung Over Rape Allegations

Sally Jung, March 7, 2018, 9:21 a.m.

Police launched an investigation on Tuesday into allegations that South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung raped his secretary. Kim Ji-eun first made the allegations in an explosive TV interview Monday and has now filed a police report against the governor, who resigned Tuesday. Kim's lawyer Jang Yoon-jung said, "The victim wants the case to be investigated fairly."

Kim has accused An of both sexually harassing her and repeatedly raping her on work trips abroad. That could result in charges of abusing his power as a superior.

In such cases the accused can be punished even if there is insufficient evidence of force since more weight is given to the victim's position as dependent on the perpetrator for their livelihood and therefore unable to put up much resistance.

One criminal attorney said, "The defendant can be found guilty in such cases simply on charges of nudging the victim in a suggestive manner."

These charges carry a maximum punishment for five years in prison or a W15 million fine (US$1=W1,078). In comparison, rape charges, which require proving that the accused used force or violence, carry a minimum three-year prison sentence.

Legal experts said An could face several years behind bars either way since he has been accused of raping Kim four times. An has gone to ground since the scandal broke and is communicating only with his closest aides, discussing legal matters.

One official who is close to An said, "The former governor will speak to the public soon. The whole case may escalate into a 'he said, she said' affair."

An admitted to the offenses on Facebook but may yet recant.

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