The military court on Tuesday rejected the Army prosecution’s request for an arrest warrant for the eldest son of Gyeonggi Province Gov. Nam Kyung-pil, who has been charged with beating and sexually harassing two of his junior colleagues at his unit of the Army’s 6th Division.
The court said that given that Nam’s son, a 23-year-old corporal, admitted to the charges and the victims do not want him to be punished, there was little possibility that he would flee or destroy any evidence concerning the charges.
The prosecution is considering requesting an arrest warrant again.
|Nam Kyung-pil (Yonhap)|
Nam’s son allegedly beat a 21-year-old private first class for not properly carrying out his duties from early April to early this month. The corporal is also purported to have hugged a 19-year-old private first class and tapped an area near his pants’ zipper between mid-July and recently.
The corporal has admitted to the charges of beatings and sexual harassment, officials said. The specific charges were revealed after his unit carried out a survey of its members last Monday to stamp out abuse in the barracks.
Meanwhile, the Center for Military Human Rights Korea, a civic group, raised allegations that the military authorities have been downplaying the case or trying to cover it up.
Based on the investigation records it obtained, the center claimed that the corporal beat the private first class a total of 50 times on seven occasions since early April, arguing that the PFC was clumsy with his duties.
As for the sexual harassment charges, the center claimed that the corporal rubbed his sexual organ on the buttocks of another private first class and slightly touched the PFC’s sexual organ at their barracks.
“The military authorities omitted the most important part of his alleged sexual harassment. And as for the beating charges, the authorities reduced the number of times he beat him,” the center said, insinuating that the military probe may have been influenced by the Gyeonggi governor’s status.
The Army repudiated the center’s claim, stressing that it would sternly deal with the case according to due legal procedures.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)