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Sex criminals with high status get softer sentences

More than 1,000 high-income professionals and public office holders had their indictments for sex crimes suspended over the past three years, a lawmaker revealed Thursday, adding more fuel to public outrage over the country’s leniency on sex offenders.

According to Justice Ministry data presented to Rep. Lee Jung-hyun of the ruling Grand National Party, the number of public prosecutors, attorneys, professors, medical doctors and other high-income professionals who were given leniency under the John School system totaled 955 between 2009 and the first half of this year. Some 167 public office holders also took classes in John schools.

Introduced in 2005, John schools are aimed at rehabilitating first-time sex offenders, mostly male clients of prostitutes, through education. Offenders’ indictments are suspended on the condition that they participate in an eight-hour class a day aimed at preventing them from committing sexual crimes again.

Since 2005, more than 104,000 offenders have taken the course.

Calls are growing that the country should toughen up on sex offenders, after a movie, based on the true story of sex crimes against disabled students by their teachers, became a box office hit.

Last month, another lawmaker revealed that the John School program was also offered to second- and third-time offenders and those who committed sex crimes against minors.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)
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