The Korea Herald


Former K-pop boy band member charged with sexual assault of fellow member

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : April 4, 2023 - 11:52

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A former member of a six-person K-pop boy band was indicted on charges of forcibly molesting and sexually assaulting a fellow group member over the course of four years, a local media outlet reported Monday.

The former group member was referred to trial in January. He is accused of sexually assaulting the victim at least three times from 2017 to 2021 in their dorms and practice room. The charges against the suspect include "imitative rape," which under Korean law is defined as inserting genitals, a body part or instrument into "another's bodily part (excluding a genital organ)." The offense is punishable by imprisonment of at least two years.

The defendant is reported to have admitted to most of the charges while claiming he does not recall some of the charges because he was inebriated at the time.

Prosecutors requested the defendant be sentenced to three years in prison at the final hearing at the Seoul Central District Court on March 29. Prosecutors also sought to have his identity publicly disclosed, for him to complete a sexual assault treatment program and to be restricted on employment for five years.

In 2021, the victim reported the abuse case to the Gangnam Police Station. Following the incident, the alleged assailant left the group for personal reasons. The group's agency said it is investigating the matter and will release a formal statement later.

Experts point out that the incident was aided by blind spots in the K-pop industry, where young trainees are left unprotected while spending long hours practicing in confined spaces. As the agency is considered neither an employment nor educational institution, it holds no responsibility for prevention or protection against sex crimes, which leaves young trainees vulnerable.