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Victim of ex-Seoul mayor's sexual harassment urges lawmaker to resign

Rep. Nam In-soon of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (Yonhap)
Rep. Nam In-soon of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (Yonhap)

A victim of sexual harassment by former Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Monday urged a ruling party lawmaker to resign and apologize over the suspected leakage of information about her complaint against the mayor.

“I am horrified by the fact that the complaint against Park could be revealed to him even before I filed the complaint with the police,” the victim and her family said in a statement.

Rep. Nam In-soon of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea is under investigation over suspicions that she tipped off Lim Soon-young, the late mayor’s former gender equality adviser, about the complaint of sexual harassment against Park before the victim brought the case to police.

“Lawmaker Nam defamed me by coining a new term ‘a person who claims to have been harmed’ and, even worse, by creating an environment where secondary damage could take place,” she said.

The prosecution is probing Kim Young-soon, head of the Korean Women’s Associations United, along with Nam, over the same suspicion.

Lim is said to have asked Park if he was involved in a “disgraceful” incident. Park initially denied it but later told her that the text messages he had sent to the victim could be seen as “problematic,” according to the prosecution.

The victim called on the three people to be held accountable for her distress, adding they stripped her of an opportunity to receive an apology and forgive Park for his wrongdoing.

The victim also spoke of worsening secondary damage against her – such as accusing her of “lying” and denying her accusation -- after police officially closed the probe and Seoul city officials were cleared of aiding and abetting the crime.

Oh Sung-kyu, former chief of staff for Park, said on his social media that the victim’s claims were “false” after he was found not guilty of aiding and abetting Park’s sexual harassment against the victim.

The victim, Park’s former secretary, accused the mayor of sexually harassing her in July. Park went missing a day after the complaint was filed against him and was found dead in an apparent suicide the next day.

Police officially closed the probe into Park last month without charges, citing a lack of evidence. The case was sent to the prosecution.

In a separate trial involving the same victim and a former Seoul city employee, the Seoul Central District Court acknowledged Park’s unwanted sexual advances toward the victim while finding the employee guilty of raping her.

The court said in its ruling that Park’s actions had caused the victim considerable mental distress, but his actions were not the direct cause of her suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

By Ock Hyun-ju (