Twenty percent of sex offenders in Korea have university degrees, statistics show, which is double the rate for other types of crime. The data has led to criticism that Korea's education system is failing to rectify distorted views about sex that persist in society.
According to the 2009 report on crime issued Monday by the Legal Research and Training Institute, 2,706 out of 13,377 individuals indicted in 2008 on charges of sexual assault had at least a bachelor's degree.
People who had completed high school comprised the biggest group of sex offenders at 4,602 or 34.4 percent, followed by middle school graduates (1,397 or 10.7 percent) and those who had only elementary school educations (779 individuals or 5.8 percent). The ratio of sex criminals with university degrees or higher levels of education has remained above 20 percent in recent years, hovering between 21.6 percent (2001) and 24.5 percent (2003).
The statistics contrast with those for murder, where most of the perpetrators had not finished high school. As of 2008, those with university degrees accounted for only 13 percent of murderers, 10.9 percent of thieves and 9.3 percent of arsonists.
Experts say that violent crime other than sexual assaults, can be traced to poverty or violence experienced in childhood by the assailants. But sex crimes are often caused by the perpetrator's distorted perceptions of sex. Lee Soo-jeong, a criminal psychologist at Kyonggi University, said, "Unlike other crimes which can trace their roots to poverty, sex crimes are triggered by distorted views of sex or a lack of self-restraint."