March 06, 2018 11:54
South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung abruptly announced his resignation on early Tuesday over allegations that he raped his secretary.
An, a rising star in the ruling Minjoo Party and "dark horse" presidential contender, initially issued a statement claiming that the sex was consensual, but later recanted and said he would stop all political activities.
Party officials said the stigma of the allegations would be too much to bear for him or the party. The party made an official apology, saying it would take steps to expel him.
An had just three months left of his tenure.
His secretary, Kim Ji-eun, appeared on JTBC news Monday evening and accused An of raping her four times and sexually harassing her numerous times over the past eight months.
Kim joined An's presidential election camp last year, where she was in charge of public relations. She was hired as his secretary shortly after the election.
Kim said An raped her during business trips to Russia and Switzerland in July and September last year.
"On Feb. 24 as the 'Me Too' movement began to spread in Korea, An telephoned me and repeatedly apologized to me, indirectly pressing me to forget things happened between him and me," she said. "But that same day he raped me again, so I decided to come forward."
She said she was initially too scared to speak out but decided that going on TV was safer than complaining privately. She said there are other victims of An's unwanted advances in his office.
In a mea culpa on Facebook a few hours after the interview aired, An wrote, "It is all my fault. I seek forgiveness for my foolish act."
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