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Ex-Assembly speaker convicted of sex abuse

By Lee Kyung-min

Park Hee-tae
Park Hee-tae
A court found former National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae guilty of sexually harassing a female caddie, Monday, sentencing him to six months in prison suspended for one year.

He was also ordered to complete a 40-hour mandatory education program for sex offenders.

Park was indicted for touching the 24-year-old caddie's breasts in September. The case was brought after the caddie filed a complaint with police.

The Chuncheon District Court said Park's action should not be taken lightly.

"Park sexually harassed the caddie the whole time they played the nine holes, causing extreme emotional distress to the victim," the judge said in its ruling.

"However, Park has no prior record of a similar sort, and he showed deep remorse and promised not to repeat such crude behavior. I also took into account that Park and the victim reached a compromise through mediation," the judge said in its ruling.

After the mediation, the victim dropped the suit, but the prosecution nevertheless put him on trial.

During a court hearing on Feb. 9, it demanded a three million won ($2,750) fine for Park.

Then, Park admitted to the charges and asked for "leniency," prosecutors said.

Soon after the allegation was reported, Park drew fierce criticism for saying he touched her to show his "affection" because she was like his granddaughter.

By Lee Kyung-min

Park Hee-tae
Park Hee-tae
A court found former National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae guilty of sexually harassing a female caddie, Monday, sentencing him to six months in prison suspended for one year.

He was also ordered to complete a 40-hour mandatory education program for sex offenders.

Park was indicted for touching the 24-year-old caddie's breasts in September. The case was brought after the caddie filed a complaint with police.

The Chuncheon District Court said Park's action should not be taken lightly.

"Park sexually harassed the caddie the whole time they played the nine holes, causing extreme emotional distress to the victim," the judge said in its ruling.

"However, Park has no prior record of a similar sort, and he showed deep remorse and promised not to repeat such crude behavior. I also took into account that Park and the victim reached a compromise through mediation," the judge said in its ruling.

After the mediation, the victim dropped the suit, but the prosecution nevertheless put him on trial.

During a court hearing on Feb. 9, it demanded a three million won ($2,750) fine for Park.

Then, Park admitted to the charges and asked for "leniency," prosecutors said.

Soon after the allegation was reported, Park drew fierce criticism for saying he touched her to show his "affection" because she was like his granddaughter.

Lee Kyung-min lkm@koreatimes.co.kr

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