Subway groper turns out to be high court judgeA man who was caught by police Thursday morning for sexually assaulting a woman on the subway turned out to be a judge on the Seoul High Court.
The judge, surnamed Hwang, submitted his resignation yesterday, and it was accepted by the Supreme Court.
“Given the graveness of the incident, the Supreme Court immediately accepted Hwang’s resignation,” said a Supreme Court official.
In Korea, the Supreme Court has administrative power over the judiciary.
The Supreme Court originally planned to discuss disciplinary measures for Hwang in a meeting yesterday, but then decided to accept his resignation.
It said it would appoint a replacement on May 2.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s subway investigation unit, Hwang was arrested by undercover officers on charges of rubbing his body against a woman in a crowded subway car heading from Jamsil Station to Seoul National University of Education Station on line No. 2 at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Undercover police followed Hwang because he was acting suspiciously and saw him targeting the woman and touching her.
Police let the female go at 9:05 a.m. after questioning her and took Hwang for questioning at a subway police office in Isu Station.
Police said Hwang first denied the complaint but eventually admitted it. Police released Hwang at 11 a.m. and reported the incident to the Seoul High Court.
Journalists were unable to reach Hwang.
Private attorneys, including officials of the Korean Bar Association, lashed out at the way the Supreme Court handled the incident.
“Judge Hwang did not only stain the reputation of judges but also wounded the dignity of all law professionals,” a Korean Bar Association official told the JoongAng Ilbo. “If a judge who exhibited a lack of morality leaves his post without being disciplined, there are no legal grounds to reject him if he registers to be an attorney in our association.”
The judicial community was also shocked by the case.
“Something that a judge, who should have higher ethics than other people, should never do has happened,” said an official at the Seoul High Court. “All judges are shocked and saddened by the incident.”
Police asked the public to speak out if they see strap-hangers, especially women, being groped or rubbed on subway trains.
According to undercover officials, reports of sexual abuse on subways occur most frequently during morning commuting hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
By Kim Mi-ju [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
판사가 지하철서 성추행
경찰 “범행 부인하다 결국 인정”
귀가 조치…법원에 통보하기로
현직 고등법원 판사가 지하철에서 여성을 성추행한 혐의로 경찰 조사를 받았다.
서울경찰청 지하철수사대에 따르면 21일 오전 8시30분쯤 서울고등법원 소속의 H판사가 지하철 2호선 잠실역에서 교대역으로 가는 전동차 안에서 한 여성을 성추행했다는 신고가 들어와 조사를 한 뒤 돌려보냈다는 것이다. 경찰의 한 관계자는 “H판사는 혼잡한 전동차 내에서 여성의 신체에 자신의 몸을 갖다 대며 비비는 등 추행을 한 혐의를 받고 있다”고 말했다. 경찰 조사에서 H판사는 처음에는 범행을 부인하다 경찰의 추궁이 계속되자 혐의를 인정한 것으로 전해졌다. 이에 따라 경찰은 H판사가 소속된 서울고법 측에 관련 사실을 공식 통보키로 했다.
이에 대해 법원 관계자는 “H판사가 지하철수사대의 조사를 받은 것은 사실이나 성추행 사건이 실제로 일어났는지 여부는 확인되지 않았다”고 밝혔다. 본지는 H판사와 수차례 연락을 시도했으나 통화가 되지 않았다.