Statute of limitations on sex crimes to be abolished

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Statute of limitations on sex crimes to be abolished

A 9-year-old girl was sexually molested and killed by a repeat sex offender after she was kidnapped on her way to school in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang, last month. This week, a former Navy officer in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang, was found to have sexually molested elementary students more than 50 times while he was working as a school guard.

Last year, the popular Korean film “Dogani,” about the shocking real-life story of teachers at a Gwangju school who sexually abused students with disabilities for years, spurred a crackdown on sex crimes against the disabled.

Amid increased concern regarding sex crimes against the young, legislation to bolster protection of children against sex crimes will begin to be enforced starting from tomorrow, said the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family yesterday.

The statute of limitations for cases of sexual assault against girls under the age of 13 will be abolished starting from tomorrow, according to the provisions.

Until now, the statute of limitations for sexual assault against girls or disabled females was 15 years.

The revised Child and Youth Protection Law was passed in the National Assembly at the end of December last year and was criticized for not being comprehensive and avoiding addressing aggression against boys.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office held a second meeting at its headquarters in southern Seoul to discuss measures to counter sexual assault yesterday with high-level officials from the Gender Ministry, Korea Communications Commission, the National Police Agency, along with professors and other experts in the field.

They decided to request a more severe sentence of more than ten years of imprisonment for convicts with a previous record of sex crimes against children.

The council also decided to crack down on viewing and distributing child pornography on the Internet.

The prosecutors’ office also said that it would actively push for punishment against such convicts such as electronic anklets and chemical castration, and that it will pursue a “zero-tolerance” attitude toward sexual crimes targeting children and the disabled.

“Through systematic adaptation of policies to counter sexual violence, prosecutors will seek more severe punishment for assailants and also work on crime prevention and protection of victims.”

The revised law set to take effect tomorrow also strengthens punishment against sex offenders, barring 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.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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