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Parties move to toughen sex crime law

Rival parties are pushing to abolish the statute of limitations for those charged with sexual assault against disabled people or children under 13.

The bill review subcommittee of the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee examined and passed the so-called “Dogani” bill regarding sexual assault on children and the disabled. The bill is now awaiting approval by the National Assembly.

Dogani is the title of a film based on the true story of teachers who committed sex crimes against students at a school for the deaf in Gwangju for five years from 2000.

The revised bill mandates a sentence of seven years to life imprisonment for those convicted of sexual assault against a minor or disabled person.

Those in a position of authority at a school or shelter for people with disabilities and convicted of a crime could face additional punishment. However, the bill does not elaborate on possible punishment.

A highly controversial clause in the existing sexual assault law that states rape has only occurred when the victim is unable to defend him or herself was also removed. Legal experts had said that attackers of the mentally handicapped could avoid punishment by claiming consensual sex.

Those found to have used their position of power to force themselves upon a person with a disability could face punishment as well.

The bill will be sent to the committee for review and, if passed, will be sent to the plenary session of the National Assembly.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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