Victim Says Seoul Mayor's Power Continues Beyond Grave

      March 18, 2021 11:12

      The woman who accuses former Seoul mayor Park Won-soon of years of sexual harassment on Wednesday said Park's malign power persists beyond the grave.

      "His power continues to linger," the woman told reporters in a hotel in Seoul. "Even after he died, people who refuse to acknowledge his wrongdoing continue to make life hard for me."

      The woman spoke to the media in person for the first time in the seven months since Park killed himself after she filed a police complaint against him.

      A seat for the victim of sexual harassment by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is being prepared at a press conference in a hotel in Seoul on Wednesday.

      The press conference, organized by women's rights groups, was limited to 60 reporters and no photographs or videos were allowed.

      "Due to his radical choice, the perpetrator became a victim, and I felt there was no place for me in our society amid a huge outpouring of tributes to the deceased."

      A court ruled in January that "the victim suffered tremendous psychological pain due to former Mayor Park's sexual harassment" and scuppered attempts by Park's family to block further investigation. But because Park is dead police closed the case.

      "I believe we would have come closer to the truth if he had lived to face the law and defended himself," the woman said, fighting back tears. "Because he gave up his right to defend himself, I ended up suffering the damage. I hope you will now stop pointing your fingers at me."

      When asked about her motive for holding the press conference, the woman said, "I believe a lot of people have forgotten the reason why the by-election is being held" for Seoul mayor next month.

      "I became afraid that I would be unable to return to my life if a mayor is elected from the ruling party, which was responsible for hurting me by distorting the truth." The woman said the former mayor "isn't the only politician in the ruling party who is at fault. The party attempted to downplay the pain I suffered by referring to me as a person 'claiming to be the victim' and ended up fielding a candidate for mayor" despite earlier vowing not to field a candidate.

      She was referring to Minjoo Party lawmakers Nam In-soon, Jin Sun-mee and Ko Min-jung, who took the lead in vilifying her. "Before the Minjoo Party apologizes, it needs to acknowledge the truth and take action."

      The woman called on Nam, who is suspected of leaking her police complaint against the ex-mayor, to quit. But she voiced her willingness to forgive those who sincerely acknowledge hurting her. "I wish to forgive them not out of fear of retribution, but for my own recovery. They need to apologize for everything that has been done to me." 

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