March 29, 2018 12:55
A court on Wednesday rejected an arrest warrant for former South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung on multiple rape charges.
An waited in a holding cell for more than an hour as his warrant was reviewed in the Seoul Western District Court. But Judge Kwak Hyung-sup said, "There was a lack of evidence supporting the major charges and only a small chance of the defendant fleeing or destroying evidence."
An has been charged with repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting his secretary Kim Ji-eun between June 2017 and February this year by abusing his power as her superior.
Since Kim's accusations, another woman who worked at a think tank An set up, has also come forward and filed charges in a case still under separate investigation.
Rather than rape, the warrant focused on the lesser charge of sexual coercion by a person in authority, which gives more weight to the victim's position as in some way dependent on the perpetrator, thus making it hard for them to resist even if no actual violence is used.
The court said more evidence is needed to prove that An abused his power.
A lawyer who used to be a judge said, "I think there's some controversy over whether Kim could have resisted." And a lawyer who mainly deals with sex offenses said, "The charge of sexual coercion by a person in authority is riddled with ambiguities because there is no requirement to prove explicit resistance."
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