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Top court reaffirms ex-governor guilty of sexual abuse

South Korea's top court on Monday confirmed a lower court ruling that sentenced a former provincial governor to 3 1/2 years in prison for sexually abusing his secretary.

The Supreme Court handed down the ruling to former South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung, saying that the victim's testimony was consistent and credible to be accepted as evidence.

An was accused of sexually abusing his female secretary, Kim Ji-eun, several times from July 2017 to February last year in abuse of his power. 

Kim, who served as An's public affairs secretary, claimed that An forced her to have sex with him and groped her multiple times over the eight-month period.

A district court found him innocent of the sex abuse charges.


But, in February, the appeals court sentenced him to 3 1/2 years in prison, finding him guilty of nine of the 10 charges, including abuse of power and sexual molestation.

The case, which came to light following Kim's testimony of the charges in a live TV interview in March 2018, fueled the country's nascent MeToo movement and ended the liberal presidential hopeful's political career.

An is the one of the most powerful figures to be implicated in a MeToo case here.

South Korea's MeToo movement kicked off in January 2018 when state prosecutor Seo Ji-hyun, in a televised interview, accused a senior colleague of repeatedly groping her. Her interview ignited the movement, leading to countless MeToo accounts in academic, cultural and religious circles. (Yonhap)