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Lewd conduct claims pile up against ex-prosecutor

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Published : 2014-08-20 21:34
Updated : 2014-08-20 21:34

The former chief prosecutor of Jejudo Island may have committed more sexual misconduct than initially suggested, evidence showed Wednesday.

Jeju police have studied a series of security camera tapes of a man suspected to be Kim Soo-chang, the 52-year-old former chief of Jeju District Prosecutors’ Office, and think he conducted indecent acts in at least two public places.

Kim was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly masturbating at a local restaurant.

According to investigators, the eyewitness who first reported the case to police said that she saw the culprit commit the cited felony once on her way home, and again through her window after she arrived home.

“We have secured footage from 13 CCTV cameras at the crime scene, seven of which had filmed the culprit.” said an official from the Jeju Provincial Police Agency. “The CCTV footage includes close-up shots (of the offender) and images that were filmed from distance. One or two images clearly showed him in the middle of the lewd activity.”

One of the CCTV cameras also recorded a man appearing to be Kim wandering around the stores near his office two hours before he was apprehended by police. In the footage, the man briefly follows two young women at a complex before leaving the building.

“The quality of this image is good enough to identify the man as Kim,” said a police official.

This suggests he may have lied to the police about his whereabouts prior to his arrest.

According to his earlier testimony, Kim should have been taking a walk near a beach, seven or eight kilometers from his office.

Kim also tried to hide his identity and gave his brother’s name to the police, when he was taken into custody. He also claimed there was another man at the crime scene ― supposedly the actual perpetrator ― but security footage showed that there was only one person there.

But the images that caught the indecent acts in question are too unclear to confirm the identity of the perpetrator, meaning it is not yet possible to conclusively identify the sexual offender as the senior prosecutor.

The National Forensics Service is currently studying the CCTV footage to identify the offender. It is expected to notify the investigator of the results as early as Thursday afternoon.

Despite insisting on his innocence, Kim quit Monday amid public furor surrounding the case. The Justice Ministry said it accepted Kim’s offer to resign because it was not appropriate for him to retain his post as a chief prosecutor while an investigation about him was underway.

The swift acceptance of Kim’s resignation, however, fueled further suspicion that the prosecution was bent on helping him avoid severe punishment. Regulations state that a civil servant suspected of wrongdoing is banned from submitting his resignation before investigation concerning him or her is concluded.

Because the ministry accepted Kim’s resignation, he is entitled to full severance pay and pension. As he is no longer a civil servant, he will not be subject to further punishment from the prosecution even if his charges prove to be true.

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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