A shaman who was taken to court on charges of fraud was ruled not guilty by the Seoul Southern District Court on Wednesday.
“Shamanism is, for the most part, aimed at gaining consolation and inner peace. Even if shamanistic rituals do not yield the promised outcome, it is difficult to hold the shaman accountable for the failure,” the court said.
The shaman in the case had blamed the spirits of the victim’s aborted twin babies for her husband’s flagging business and suggested the victim appease the spirit babies through special rituals.
The prosecution accused the shaman of fraud for carrying out an excessive number of rituals and charging over 560 million won ($499,000). The shaman provided 133 rituals in the period between January 2011 and December 2015. During the time, she sent mobile text messages to the alleged victim using baby talk as if she was possessed with the twins’ spirits.
The text messages read, “I know how you feel mommy. Please don’t feel sad. We love you,” “We ate loads of the meat you sent us. We love it very much.”
The prosecution claimed the shaman intended to con the woman and submitted the victim’s bank account records detailing the amount of cash she claims to have withdrawn to pay for shamanistic services.
The court took the side of the shaman, deciding that there was ample possibility that the victim willfully relied on shamanism to deflect stress from her husband’s unstable business, marital relationship problems and children’s future.
The court also took in to account that the victim could have used some of the withdrawn cash for matters other than the rituals.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)