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'All I wanted was judgment by law and apology'

Kim Jae-ryun, the lawyer for the former secretary of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon who accused him of sexual harassment, shows an invitation to a Telegram secret chat allegedly sent by the mayor to the victim, during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap
Kim Jae-ryun, the lawyer for the former secretary of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon who accused him of sexual harassment, shows an invitation to a Telegram secret chat allegedly sent by the mayor to the victim, during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap

By Jun Ji-hye

A former secretary of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who accused him of sexual harassment, said Monday that all she had wanted was for the mayor to be judged by the law and make a sincere apology to her.

The woman said she had decided to file the sexual harassment complaint with police against the mayor because she wanted to be protected by the law from the immense power of an influential politician, in accordance with the principle of equality before the law.

"I wanted to ask him to stop what he was doing in the safety of court. I wanted to shout that I have gone through a very hard time. And I wanted to forgive him," the woman said in a statement that was read during a news conference in her absence by Kim Hye-jeong, a senior official from the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center (KSVRC).

"It took my courage to file the complaint against him. But he took his own life. I never thought of death even when I was having a hard time, because I would never want to hurt the people who love me. So, I was really disappointed. And it is still so hard to believe he's dead."

The press conference, participated in by her lawyer and members of women's organizations including the KSVRC, took place hours after the Seoul Metropolitan Government held an online funeral ceremony for the ex-mayor.

Park, a former civic activist, human rights lawyer and three-term Seoul mayor, was found dead on Mount Bukak in Seoul at 12:01 a.m. early Friday, after the former secretary filed the complaint, Wednesday.

No more details about his actions are known yet, but many have suggested that he acted out of mounting personal pressure following the complaint.

Kim Jae-ryun, the lawyer for the former secretary, claimed Park had touched the victim multiple times and had sent her "inappropriate" messages over the past four years.

Following the sudden death of one of the nation's most powerful and high-profile elected officials, police will officially close the investigation of the sexual harassment complaint raised against him.

Meanwhile, the ex-secretary has been suffering "secondary damage," becoming the target of personal insults and abuse online, with people circulating unconfirmed information and photos of her.

The secretary said, "I have been in fear due to distortions of the truth and lots of speculation. My family and I are hoping to find safety in our lives again."

Her lawyer said an additional complaint was filed with the police earlier in the day over "secondary damage the victim has suffered," asking the police to punish those spreading unconfirmed rumors.

The participants in the news conference called on the city government to form a panel tasked with unearthing the truth behind the incident, and for the government and National Assembly not to ignore the victim but to come up with proper countermeasures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.


Kim Jae-ryun, the lawyer for the former secretary of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon who accused him of sexual harassment, shows an invitation to a Telegram secret chat allegedly sent by the mayor to the victim, during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap
Kim Jae-ryun, the lawyer for the former secretary of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon who accused him of sexual harassment, shows an invitation to a Telegram secret chat allegedly sent by the mayor to the victim, during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap

By Jun Ji-hye

A former secretary of late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who accused him of sexual harassment, said Monday that all she had wanted was for the mayor to be judged by the law and make a sincere apology to her.

The woman said she had decided to file the sexual harassment complaint with police against the mayor because she wanted to be protected by the law from the immense power of an influential politician, in accordance with the principle of equality before the law.

"I wanted to ask him to stop what he was doing in the safety of court. I wanted to shout that I have gone through a very hard time. And I wanted to forgive him," the woman said in a statement that was read during a news conference in her absence by Kim Hye-jeong, a senior official from the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center (KSVRC).

"It took my courage to file the complaint against him. But he took his own life. I never thought of death even when I was having a hard time, because I would never want to hurt the people who love me. So, I was really disappointed. And it is still so hard to believe he's dead."

The press conference, participated in by her lawyer and members of women's organizations including the KSVRC, took place hours after the Seoul Metropolitan Government held an online funeral ceremony for the ex-mayor.

Park, a former civic activist, human rights lawyer and three-term Seoul mayor, was found dead on Mount Bukak in Seoul at 12:01 a.m. early Friday, after the former secretary filed the complaint, Wednesday.

No more details about his actions are known yet, but many have suggested that he acted out of mounting personal pressure following the complaint.

Kim Jae-ryun, the lawyer for the former secretary, claimed Park had touched the victim multiple times and had sent her "inappropriate" messages over the past four years.

Following the sudden death of one of the nation's most powerful and high-profile elected officials, police will officially close the investigation of the sexual harassment complaint raised against him.

Meanwhile, the ex-secretary has been suffering "secondary damage," becoming the target of personal insults and abuse online, with people circulating unconfirmed information and photos of her.

The secretary said, "I have been in fear due to distortions of the truth and lots of speculation. My family and I are hoping to find safety in our lives again."

Her lawyer said an additional complaint was filed with the police earlier in the day over "secondary damage the victim has suffered," asking the police to punish those spreading unconfirmed rumors.

The participants in the news conference called on the city government to form a panel tasked with unearthing the truth behind the incident, and for the government and National Assembly not to ignore the victim but to come up with proper countermeasures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.


Jun Ji-hye jjh@koreatimes.co.kr

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