The Korea Herald


Ex-diplomat's suit against dismissal over sexual assault rejected

By Yonhap

Published : March 19, 2023 - 10:32

    • Link copied

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Yonhap) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Yonhap)

A former South Korean diplomat has lost a lawsuit seeking to reverse the foreign ministry's decision to fire him for sexually assaulting a female embassy employee when stationed in Ethiopia, sources said Sunday.

The Seoul Administrative Court last month ruled against the plaintiff, surnamed Lee, in his lawsuit seeking to have the foreign minister overturn his dismissal. The ruling was finalized as Lee did not appeal.

Lee was fired in July 2017 after he was found to have sexually assaulted the female subordinate after drinking with her and taking her to his house when he worked as a councilor at South Korea's Embassy in the African nation.

During a disciplinary committee meeting, Lee rejected accusations that he raped her when she was in a state of inability to resist, though he acknowledged it was inappropriate to drink heavily with the subordinate and go to his home together.

The ministry concluded Lee had sexually assaulted the victim based on her testimony and reported him to the prosecution.

The Seoul Northern District Court found him guilty of the charges in November 2019 and sentenced him to 3 1/2 years in prison.

Lee appealed the court decision and filed an administrative suit in September 2020 against his dismissal, but the Supreme Court confirmed his prison term.

The administrative court rejected the plaintiff's request to overturn his dismissal, citing the top court's ruling that finalized his sentence.

"A civil servant's sexual violence crime significantly hampers public trust in state institutions," the court said. "The decision to dismiss the plaintiff was not unjustly heavy." (Yonhap)