The Seoul Western District Court decided not to issue the warrant early Thursday, saying the accusations against An are arguable and there is not enough proof that he may flee or destroy evidence.
This is the second time the court has denied a warrant for An, who is accused of forcing his secretary to have sex with him multiple times.
|Former South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung leaves the detention center in Seoul after a request for his arrest was rejected in the early hours of Thursday. Yonhap|
Prosecutors are considering indicting An without detention as early as next week. Their earlier request for a warrant to detain An on charges of sexual relations and sexual harassment by abuse of occupational authority was rejected last week as the court said he was unlikely to flee or destroy evidence.
Prosecutors investigated further and sought a warrant on the same charges for the second time Monday, saying An appears to have tried to destroy evidence.
The secretary, Kim Ji-eun, revealed on a television news program early last month that An raped her four times and harassed her many times from June 2017 to February this year in Seoul and during overseas business trips. An resigned as governor and made a public apology following Kim’s revelations, but has not admitted to the charges.
An has also been accused of sexually assaulting a research staff member of a think tank, but the warrant was sought on charges involving only Kim’s case as the other case needs further investigation, prosecutors said. The researcher accused An of raping her three times and harassing her four times from October 2015 to January 2017.
Both women filed criminal complaints against An with the prosecution.
While admitting that he had sexual intercourse with the two women, An claims the relations were consensual.
Prosecutors are expected to look further into the accusations made by the researcher before indicting An without detention.
A nongovernmental group supporting the alleged victims expressed regret at the court’s denial of the warrant on Thursday and called for a swift indictment and a fair trial.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)