Seoul Mayor's Accuser Speaks out

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    July 14, 2020 11:04

    The woman accusing late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon of sexual harassment said Monday that the abuse continued for about four years. It did not even stop after Park saw similar charges against fellow officials.

    In a statement to the media read by her lawyer, the woman, who was Park's secretary at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, claimed that her complaints to other city officials fell on deaf ears.

    "The abuses did not stop even while [the late mayor] saw the 'Me Too' scandals of former South Chungcheong Province governor Ahn Hee-jung and ex-Busan mayor Oh Keo-don," lawyer Kim Jae-ryon said. "Sexual harassment abusing his authority continued for the past four years."

    Activists including a lawyer (far right) for Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon's former secretary give a press conference in Seoul on Monday.

    The lawyer also listed the time, locations and details of the alleged abuses. The mayor allegedly touched the former secretary inappropriately in a bedroom adjacent to his office and also harassed her after work by sending her text messages and explicit photos.

    "The victim turned to city officials for help, but they either refused to believe her or passed off her role as catering to the mayor's moods," Kim said. "It came to a point where she could not complain any further."

    It appears the mayor was alerted as soon as she filed a police report last week. "Who can trust a system and come forward under such conditions?" Kim asked.

    Police said they briefed Cheong Wa Dae on the matter under regulations which require any misconduct of an official with a direct line to the president should be reported. But they denied they informed Park.

    "The reality that does not change despite the pleas of more than 500,000 people is the immense power that overwhelmed me at that time, and the thought of that leads to a feeling of suffocation," the woman said in her statement.

    The 500,000 people she was referring to signed an online petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website who opposed an official funeral for Park. Despite the online petition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government went ahead and declared a five-day mourning period.

    "During the long hours of silence, I was in pain, alone... To protect myself, so powerless and vulnerable against huge power, I wanted to guard myself through the protection of just and fair law," the woman added in the statement.

    Song Ran-hee, the head of feminist group Korea Women's Hot Line said, "The case must not be brushed under the rug by his death."

    Park killed himself last week at Mt. Bukak near his official residence.

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