Connect with us

Foreign

City to open probe into allegations of sexual misconduct by late Seoul mayor

Published

on

City to open probe into allegations of sexual misconduct by late Seoul mayor

The Seoul metropolitan government on Wednesday announced a plan to launch a probe into allegations of sexual abuse by the city’s late mayor raised by his former secretary.


Park Won-soon, the city’s three-term mayor, was found dead in the hills of a Seoul mountain in the early hours of Friday after hundreds of police and rescue officials searched for him following a missing persons report.

A handwritten note, saying `sorry,’ was later found in Park’s study.

His abrupt death came a day after a former secretary filed a complaint with the police.

On Monday, civic groups and her attorney held a press conference where they claimed the public servant suffered unwanted physical contact and received inappropriate messages from Park for over four years.

The city said it will establish a joint investigative team involving women rights and human rights groups, along with legal experts, for the case “to guarantee fairness and objectivity.’’

Seoul city will strive to strictly get down to the truth through a joint investigative committee involving external experts, such as women’s rights groups, human rights experts and legal experts.

By forming and running the joint committee, (the city) will guarantee the fairness and objectivity of the probe, city spokesperson Hwang In-sik told reporters.

Hwang did not elaborate on the scope or size of the committee, including whether the city’s gender and human rights departments and the civic groups that represented the secretary will take part.

“The city’s value is that fairness and objectivity should be prioritised, we will decide on a level and scope that both sides can accept after sufficient consultations with women rights and human rights groups,’’ Hwang added.

A detailed schedule for the investigation was not immediately provided.

The city said its priority will be to prevent any `secondary damages’ inflicted on the former secretary and provide all possible support measures to help her recover.

Hwang said the city will provide valid, sufficient and maximum support to the alleged victim, including therapy sessions with psychologists and safety measures for the former secretary’s residence.

Cheong Wa Dae officials refrained from commenting directly on the sensitive case, apparently seeking to maintain distance from political controversies.

Asked about President Moon Jae-in’s response to the allegations involving the late mayor, a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters that, “We can’t make public every remark of the president.’’

Now that the Seoul city government has announced a plan for the joint probe, “It’s time to calmly wait and see its results,’’ he added, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Cheong Wa Dae earlier issued a statement that there shouldn’t be any second victimisation of the accuser, the official said.

Public calls have grown for a formal investigation into the incident, which women rights groups labelled as a typical instance of workplace sexual abuse involving a disparity in power.

Lee Mi-kyoung, who leads the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Centre, stressed how the victim was unable to decline or defy the mayor, as a secretary and that her request for help fell through as most in the city government told her it must have been a mistake  or that “it’s part of a secretary’s job to emotionally support the mayor.

“We’re facing a situation in which the defendant has become absent but that doesn’t mean the truth disappears,’’ said Ko Mi-kyung, head of the Korea Women’s Hot Line, one of the organisations that co-hosted the press conference on behalf of the victim, demanding a “proper probe’’ into the case.

Politicians, from both the ruling and main opposition parties, have also urged the city government to launch an investigation.

“As the party’s chairman, I feel miserable, and I have no words for the citizens.

“I again deeply express my apology to the citizens,’’ Democratic Party Chairman Lee Hae-chan said earlier in the day, asking the city government to launch a probe.

The planned probe, however, is expected to face challenges as its conclusion is not legally binding.

An ongoing police investigation is reportedly only focusing on Park’s itinerary and the cause for his apparent suicide.

The national human rights commission, meanwhile, has also opened a probe into the case after a civic group filed a complaint about it.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

Sheji Halima: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Edo polls: U.S expresses worry over deteriorating political climate, security interference 2020: China interfering against Trump, Russia against Biden — report NOSDRA, Agip investigate oil leak at Azuzuama, Bayelsa Environmental group urges African governments to rise against COVID-19, Climate and Health crises Police arrest suspects for criminal offenses, kill 1 in Niger Chelsea’s Kante ruled fit against Bayern-Lampard Gattuso says his Napoli are not just about grit and growls UCL: Ronaldo brace not enough as Olympique Lyon knock out Juventus UCL:Man City eliminate Real Madrid after Varane nightmare Resumption: Kogi govt. tasks heads of schools on conducive environment Kano Varsity promotes 17 lecturers to professors, associate professors KEKE Senior Grammar School, others excel in Y2020 Goveŕnors quiz competition Maximising the benefits of breastfeeding during COVID-19 pandemic Ministries of Defence, Enviroment to synergise on protection of N’Delta environment Sanwo-Olu pledges to revitalise agric sector SUNU Assurances declares N1.2bn profit Kogi acting CJ pledges to sustain late Ajanah’s legacies Abia stakeholders pass vote of no confidence in Rep. Nkole over alleged poor performance Edo election: Security council condemns violence – Obaseki, CP PDP governors’ forum urges security agencies to re-strategise to curb insecurity Commissioner decries parents’ attitude over students lateness to schools in Delta GLEIF reaffirms CSCS as sole local operating unit Buhari greets Labour Minister, Chris Ngige at 68 Women groups rally support for Obaseki, Speaker in Edo Kano traffic agency bans long vehicles from offloading goods during the day Flood destroys 110 houses in Zamfara Kaduna attacks: Sen Sani urges concerted efforts by govt, security agencies Flooding: NEMA urges Jalingo residents to avoid settlement along riverine areas Zamfara APC Crisis: Court dissolves Zamfara executives, orders fresh congresses NBBF mourns former D’Tigers invitee, Ojo Adamawa Assembly approves Gov. Fintiri’s N550m Agric loan  ACF urges FG to tackle killings, insecurity in southern Kaduna Insecurity: Umahi advises Buhari to retain service chiefs Man, 27, drowns in Kano pond COVID-19 : EKSG introduces tax relief, incentives for businesses Apapa congestion : NUPENG directs tanker drivers to suspend services in Lagos Buhari to inaugurate NCDMB’s 17-storey hqtrs Aug. 13 VP Osinbajo wants deepening of PPP for infrastructure development   COVID-19: UN’s Deputy Secretary-General urges solidarity among countries  Gombe State Govt begins fumigation of 2,021 schools ahead of  reopening Ministry of Communications wins FG’s 2020 innovation competition prizes COVID-19: World Bank approves $114.28 m for Nigeria NSE: Trading sustains bullish trend, rises 0.45% PGF DG tasks APC Campaign Council on Edo governorship election Chinese court sentences another Canadian to death for drugs Obaseki celebrates Daisy Danjuma at 68 AU body advises FG on holistic approach in fights against corruption Experts urge mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding Osinbajo urges private sector to play key role in averting recession Rainy season: FRSC warns drivers against worn out tyres