[Newsmaker] Prosecution forms inspection team to look into sexual assault allegations

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jan 31, 2018 - 11:14
  • Updated : Jan 31, 2018 - 11:51
The Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office decided Wednesday to form a special inspection team to look into sexual assault allegations rocking the office, officials said.

A female prosecutor, Seo Ji-hyun, raised the accusations against a former senior prosecutor on Monday, claiming that he groped her body during a funeral dinner in 2010 and that senior Justice Ministry officials tried to cover it up, transferring her to a remote post.

The alleged victim appeared on TV and spoke about her hardship, sparking public outrage. President Moon Jae-in also called for the creation of a work environment in which female workers may freely report any sexual abuse without having to fear negative consequences.

"We formed an inspection team in an effort to take an in-depth look into the sexual assault case and come up with preventive measures," an official with the top prosecutors' office said. "The purpose of this inspection team is to end the practice of one gender being oppressed by the other gender and having to put up with it."

Former senior Justice Ministry official Ahn Tae-geun, left, and public prosecutor at the Tongyeong branch of the Changwon District Prosecutors’ Office Seo Ji-hyun (Yonhap)

Cho Hee-jin, a senior female prosecutor and head of the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors' Office, was named to lead the inspection team, while another female prosecutor will be named as her deputy, officials said. Other female prosecutors and investigators will also join the team, they said.

The inspection team plans to call in Seo and her alleged assaulter, Ahn Tae-geun, to listen to what they have to say about the allegations. Officials said that a formal investigation could be launched into the case depending on the situation.

The team also plans to look into other cases of sexual violence within the prosecution.

"This decision was made out of a determination to take this opportunity to root out wrongs," an official said. "We will carry out a broad inspection while leaving open all possibilities." (Yonhap)