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Prosecutors request 4 years for An in rape case

July 28,2018
Prosecutors requested a four-year prison sentence for former South Chungcheong Gov. An Hee-jung, the most prominent figure to be implicated by Korea’s Me Too movement, in the last hearing of his rape trial on Friday.

“Honorable judge, I now have no job and nowhere to go,” Kim Ji-eun, An’s former secretary, said while fighting back tears in her final statement at the Seoul Western District Court. “My only hope now is to fix what has gone wrong.”

In March, Kim came forward on national television with allegations that An, who is married, raped her four times over the course of eight months while she was working for him and sexually harassed her dozens of times throughout that period.

After the broadcast, An, once a strong presidential contender, resigned as governor of South Chungcheong but insisted their relationship was consensual. In April, prosecutors indicted him on four counts of “sexual intercourse by abuse of occupational authority” and five counts of sexual harassment.

“An held powerful social and political influence,” prosecutors said in their final argument, “and Kim was in an unstable position. He used this to his advantage and committed the crime by disguising it as work-related.”

In his final statement, An continued to maintain that the relationship was consensual.

“I apologize to everyone, to the defendant and all those who support her and women’s rights groups,” An said. “But I want to say this. How could I have used my position to violate a person’s human rights?”

The court is set to release its verdict on Aug. 14.

The trial, which began this month, contained a string of testimonies that undermined Kim’s story and threw the case into a haze.

An’s wife, Min Joo-won, testified on July 13 that Kim had unilaterally expressed attraction to her husband when they worked together and said she was worried Kim would endanger their marriage.

Min said in court that Kim once entered the couple’s room at 4 a.m. and stared at them at the edge of their bed during a work-related trip they took together last August.

One of An’s other secretaries contradicted Kim’s claim that the South Chungcheong government and An’s presidential campaign last year had a hierarchical atmosphere that allowed him to have power over her.

The secretary also testified that Kim shared an especially close bond with the former governor and behaved coquettishly toward him at a company dinner.

Women’s rights groups have accused the media of sensational reporting on these testimonies and argue that the coverage inflicts further pain on the victim.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]