Prosecution Team Seeking Indictment of Ex-Prosecutor Suspected of Sexual Assault

David Song, April 13, 2018, 8:40 a.m.

A committee of the prosecution concluded Friday that it is proper to indict a former senior prosecutor who is accused of sexually assaulting a female junior colleague and using his influence to demote her after she raised the issue. The committee tasked with reviewing the prosecutors' probe held a meeting to discuss whether to seek a warrant to arrest Ahn Tae-geun, 52, and indict him and said that it is appropriate to seek to formally charge him.

Seo Ji-hyeon, currently a district attorney, appeared on a cable TV news program in January and alleged that Ahn groped her during a funeral dinner in 2010. She also claimed he exerted influence to have her transferred to a position outside of Seoul in 2015 after she raised the issue with the prosecution's internal inspection office.

Taking the committee's opinion, prosecutors are expected to ask a local court to issue an arrest warrant over his role in the alleged unjustified transfer of Seo as early as next week. In January, prosecutors formed a special investigation team to look into the allegations.

The following month, they questioned Ahn over his role in the suspected unjustified transfer. The statute of limitations has expired for the sexual assault allegations.

Ahn was dismissed in June last year from his position as the justice ministry director in charge of criminal affairs after he offered cash to prosecutors probing a corruption scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye.

Ahn said he does not remember the incident with Seo because he was intoxicated at that time.

Seo's revelation has triggered a flurry of allegations of sexual abuses by powerful figures in the judiciary, cultural, educational, religious and other sectors in what is called Korea's answer to the "MeToo" movement.

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