Statute of limitations ended for rape of girls

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Statute of limitations ended for rape of girls

The government has abolished the statute of limitations for sex offenses against girls under the age of 13 to curb sexual assaults against minors.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced yesterday that the National Assembly passed a revision bill on Friday to remove the statute of limitations for sex offenders who raped girls under 13 using threat or violence.

The revised Child and Youth Protection Law will go into effect in July. The statute of limitations is currently 10 years.

The revised law also bars people convicted of sex offenses against minors from getting jobs in the medical sector or working as private tutors for 10 years after the punishment was served or suspended.

“As medical workers, such as doctors and nurses, and private tutors actually have physical contact with children in their jobs,” said Kang Jeong-min, a director in charge of child and youth protection policies at the ministry, “we prohibited convicted sex offenders from getting a job in those sectors.”

The current law already bans convicted sex offenders from running or working at child-related facilities such as day care centers and hagwon (private academies).

The revised law also calls for prosecution of child molesters by people in authority like teachers, tutors or doctors, even when the victim fails to press charges. In the past, people in authority have dissuaded victims from pressing charges against them.

The revised law will also prohibit people convicted of petty sex crimes against minors, such as taking pictures up a girl’s skirt in public or molesting a girl in subway cars, from working in certain roles as doctors, nurses, hagwon teachers or day care center workers.

The Gender Equality Ministry said it wanted the revisions to be tougher but was met by opposition from the Ministry of Justice and the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly. “This isn’t enough,” said Kang Wol-goo, an official at the Gender Equality Ministry. “Neither boys nor any teenagers above the age of 13 are going to be protected by the revised law. There are many problems we still need to work on, including prostitution of teenagers.”

By Park Yu-mi []
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