September 20, 2018 11:53
Prominent playwright and director Lee Youn-taek was sentenced to six years behind bars on Wednesday for sexually assaulting actors in his troupe.
The allegations were first made by an actress in February of this year, causing many others to come forward and launching a version of the "Me Too" movement in Korea's performing arts community.
This is the first official punishment meted to a prominent artist among those accused here.
Lee was convicted of habitually molesting and sexually assaulting eight actresses from 2010 to 2016. He was also accused of such offenses prior to 2010, but the statute of limitations has expired.
At his trial, Lee admitted to touching the actresses but claimed this was part of his "unique" training methods. "I made some misjudgments while trying to create highly polished plays," he said in his final statement in court. "I was unaware of the pain suffered by the victims since they did not resist."
But the Seoul Central District Court found Lee guilty of 18 counts of sexual assault. He was also ordered to undergo 80 hours of psychological treatment.
The judge said, "The credibility of the victims' accounts can be seen from the fact that they stepped forward without hiding their identities and took joint action in spite of the tremendous pain and psychological burden."
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