Ansan Residents Uneasy as Rapist's Return Looms

      September 14, 2020 13:03

      Residents of Ansan south of Seoul are growing uneasy after news that infamous child rapist Cho Doo-soon wants to return to his hometown after finishing his 12-year sentence later this year.

      There are increasing calls for city officials to bolster security to keep tabs on the whereabouts of Cho, who brutally raped a 12-year-old girl back in 2008 causing her permanent physical damage.

      The victim, who is now at university, still lives there, and there are no laws that can prevent him from approaching her in any way. Parents of young children and women who run small businesses alone in the area are especially nervous since Cho has a long rap sheet.

      An emergency alarm button is broken in a park in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province on Sept. 11.

      City officials will send a letter with his photo, personal details, criminal record and address to childcare facilities and families with children. But victims of sex crimes are not entitled to such warnings under the current law once they reach legal age.

      A spokesman for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said, "Victims may not want to hear anything more about their assailants, and the responsible agencies may have difficulty keeping track of victims' addresses."

      In the U.S., "Jessica's Law" in many states requires child sex offenders to stay at least 600 m away from all locations where children gather. But Korea has no such laws.

      A new law went into effect in April last year authorizing courts to order child rapists to stay away from their victims, but it does not apply retroactively.

      However, Cho is required to wear an ankle bracelet for seven years after his release and his personal information will be public for five years. Police will track his whereabouts for 20 years. 

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