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Cho sentenced for assault, rape investigation ongoing

Jan 31,2019
Former national short track speed skating coach Cho Jae-beom was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for repeatedly assaulting Olympic champion Shim Suk-hee and other athletes.

The Suwon District Court in Suwon, Gyeonggi, handed down the sentence in an appeals trial. Cho had earlier received a 10-month term, against which he unsuccessfully appealed.

The court noted Cho once had an indictment over an earlier assault charge suspended, but continued to use violence against his athletes “without any hint of contrition.”

The court said some athletes refused to settle with Cho and sought stern punishment for their former coach.

Prosecutors earlier recommended a two-year term for Cho, who is facing separate rape allegations raised by Shim last month.

Shim’s legal representative, Lim Sang-hyuk, took issue with what he called the judge’s leniency.

“It’s a shame we have such a lenient sentence in relation to his crime,” Lim said. “Considering Shim Suk-hee has been suffering a great deal from [Cho’s] indiscriminate assaults, this is a disappointing result.”

Lim said his focus would shift to trying to get Cho convicted of sexual assault charges.

“He’s denying sexual assault allegations, and that’s only making things extra difficult for Shim Suk-hee,” the attorney said. “I think the least he can do is to admit to his charges and accept his punishment.”