Former South Korean mayor jailed for sexual harassment – Times of India


SEOUL: The former mayor of South Korea‘s second-largest city was jailed for three years on Tuesday for sexually harassing two female staffers, the latest such high-profile conviction in a still patriarchal society.
Oh Keo-don stepped down as mayor of southern port Busan — a city of 3.5 million that hosts Asia‘s biggest film festival — last year following allegations he acted inappropriately towards subordinates.
Three months later, Seoul mayor Park Won-soon was found dead of an apparent suicide after a woman staffer accused him of sexual harassment.
Both men are from President Moon Jae-in‘s Democratic Party, which suffered crushing defeats in by-elections for their posts in April, giving the conservative opposition fresh momentum ahead of next year’s presidential poll.
Oh, 72, insisted that any contact was accidental but before entering court told reporters: “All faults lie in me.”
Busan District court Judge Ryu Seung-woo said the accused had abused “his superior position” to commit workplace sexual harassment.
“People who should not have suffered are still suffering,” he added according to Yonhap news agency. “I urge you to empathise more” with the victims.
South Korean society remains socially conservative despite its rapid rise into an industrial powerhouse, and sexual harassment victims often face pressure to stay silent for fear of public shaming.
But signs of change emerged after the country’s own #MeToo movement, sparked in 2018 by prosecutor Seo Ji-hyun, who publicly accused a superior of groping her at a funeral, prompting many others to share their stories.
An assistant of provincial governor Ahn Hee-jung — also of the Democratic party and a former presidential contender — accused him of repeatedly raping her.
He resigned and was later convicted of sexual intercourse by abuse of authority, and is serving three and a half years in prison.





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