+ A

General accused of harrassment

July 10,2018
A senior commander in the Korean Army has been removed from his position on allegations of sexually harassing at least three female subordinates, the military announced Monday, less than a week after a senior Navy officer was apprehended on charges of attempted rape.

A spokesperson for the army’s investigative team said the commander, a one-star general who was stationed in Gyeonggi, hasn’t been arrested yet because further investigation was needed. But authorities decided to remove him from his post, said the spokesperson, assuming the suspect would be unable to carry out his duties normally amid the probe.

Another source from the army said National Defense Minister Song Young-moo ordered an “impartial investigation” into the case after being briefed about the details from Army Chief of Staff Kim Young-woo.

According to the army, one woman who worked in the same unit as the suspect reported to authorities on June 14, saying the general “touched” her hand for about three to four seconds last March inside a car after they dined at a restaurant in Seoul.

During questioning, the general claimed he asked for the victim’s hand because he had been studying psychology at the time, and learned he could read a person’s sexual hormones from their hands.

The victim said she “lost control” of the situation and gave him her hand as she was told, said the army, who said two other victims have come forward with similar stories.

Another female subordinate said the general grabbed her hand last November in a car after having dinner together. The suspect asserted he meant to cheer her up because she had been having a rough time at work.

A third victim said she was groped by the suspect last summer in his office after he called her in. According to the victim, the general touched her hands, legs and shoulders, and made comments like “Can you run with legs like these?” and “Put on some weight.”

The alleged sexual misconduct in the Korean Army was revealed less than a week after the navy announced on July 3 that a rear admiral lower half has been arrested on charges of trying to rape a female subordinate late last month while under the influence of alcohol. The suspect was removed from his post in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, after the victim reported the incident to her immediate supervisor.

BY LEE CHUL-JAE [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]