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Today's #MeToo roundup (March 8)

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#MeToo is all the rage in South Korea. The Korea Times daily updates new claims you should not miss. -- ED.

31 celebs under investigation

Police said 40 people, including 31 well-known figures, are under formal investigation over #MeToo accusations. Among them are actor Jo Min-ki, play director Lee Yoon-taek and Cho Jeung-yoon, head of an acting troupe, according to the National Police Agency. Musician Nam Goong Yeon and film director Kim Ki-duk were not added to the list because investigators were unable to contact their alleged victims.


A pastor was struck by #MeToo accusations. An alleged victim told the Hankook Ilbo, a sister daily of The Korea Times, she was molested by a chief pastor of a church in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, 10 years ago. The alleged perpetrator, surnamed Lee, 74, is a co-chair of the Christian Council of Korea. She claimed the pastor started molesting her after she divorced.


The Supreme Court launched an investigation into allegations a male judge spoke "sexually humiliating" words to a female lawyer over the phone in mid-February. The lawyer recently filed a complaint with the court and its audit office is handling the investigation. According to the Joong-Ang Ilbo daily, the incident happened during phone consulting between the lawyer and a male client, who later turned out to be an incumbent judge. The alleged victim claimed he started the communication with gentle questions about divorce but turned rude gradually with "sexually humiliating questions."

#MeToo-hit ex-governor

An Hee-jung, former governor of South Chungcheong Province, on Thursday abruptly canceled a press conference he offered to hold to explain mounting sexual allegations against him. "An decided to cancel the press conference since he came to the conclusion that it is a priority to undergo questioning by the prosecution at the earliest date, before he bows to the public and apologizes," Shin Hyung-cheol, an aide to An, wrote in a message sent to reporters. The press conference was slated for 3 p.m. An is embroiled in a sex scandal sparked by a revelation by his secretary Monday. She claimed she was forced to have sex with him multiple times over the past eight months.

Accused artists to be erased from textbooks

Publishers have decided to remove content related to writers and artists accused of sexual misdeeds from secondary school textbooks, at the request of the Ministry of Education. The ministry said Thursday 10 publishers will delete references to poet Ko Un, and theatrical directors Lee Yoon-taek and Oh Tae-sok. They are among the most prominent artists accused of having sexually harassed and assaulted women. Four sections out of 39 will remain untouched since they only mention them by name, the ministry said. The changes will be made over the next two months.

Gov't revs up fight against sexual crimes

The government will toughen punishment for sexual violence in the workplace as the #MeToo movement rages on.
It plans to raise the maximum punishment and extend the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases involving abuse of power at work. According to the plan, the maximum prison sentence for obtaining sex through abuse will be raised to 10 years from five years. The statute of limitations will also be extended to 10 years from the present seven-year threshold. For sexual harassment cases, the maximum punishment will be raised to five years from the present two-year ceiling. The statute of limitations will be lengthened to seven years from five. The government also said it plans to pursue criminal cases against those who cover up, ignore or abet sex-related crimes within organizations or groups. It will also revise regulations automatically to ban subsidies to such private entities. Chief executives of private companies that do not take disciplinary action in sexual harassment cases could also face jail time, according to the government. The justice ministry is considering raising the maximum penalty to a prison sentence from the present fine of 5 million won ($4,680) or below.


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