Of the 1,258 sexual assault cases reported since 2011, those serving in a religious profession were the most common offenders among other professional groups, police said.
According to a police report submitted to lawmaker Park Nam-choon of the main opposition The Minjoo Party of Korea, those in religious occupations, including pastors, had the highest number of reported sexual assault cases, with 450, during the past five years, Park said.
The second-highest was medical practitioners, accounting for 403 sexual assault cases including rape and sexual abuse, followed by artists with 225, professors with 117, journalists with 46 and lawyers with 17.
The report showed that the number of the sex crimes by professionals was up 35 percent in 2015 from 2011, while those by all occupations combined increased 10 percent in the same time frame.
In 2015, religious professions in particular accounted for an annual 27 percent increase in sexual offenses at 105, compared with 83 in the previous year.
An official with knowledge of the data said “a lot of sexual assault victims feel scared and vulnerable, especially when the offenders are of high social status.”
By Bak Se-hwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)