Cadet accused of sexual assault at military academy

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Cadet accused of sexual assault at military academy

A drunk senior male cadet allegedly sexually assaulted a junior female cadet on the campus of the Korea Military Academy last Wednesday.

It was the first such scandal at the nation’s elite military institution since its establishment in 1946.

The fact that the academy kept the incident secret until it was reported by local broadcaster SBS on Tuesday has drawn accusations that it was trying to cover it up.

But the academy said it was respecting the wishes of the cadet who was allegedly assaulted.

Around 20 students and 10 professors at the Korea Military Academy in Nowon District, northeastern Seoul, had lunch with alcoholic drinks on the campus last Wednesday to celebrate Cadet Day.

The students and professors reportedly drank more after lunch, including boilermakers, or shots of soju in mugs of beer.

Future military officers are permitted to drink alcohol on campus to celebrate school events when under the guidance of professors.

The junior female cadet, whose identity has been withheld, began vomiting and tried to return to her barracks. The senior cadet, who was also drunk, took her to his barracks and allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Other cadets discovered the two in the male cadet’s room.

Since 1998, the military academy has admitted around 30 female cadets each year, comprising over 10 percent of the total number of around 250 students in each class. Over the last 15 years, two female cadets graduated summa cum laude.

The Korean Army yesterday made a public apology regarding the incident and vowed to conduct a thorough investigation.

“We deeply regret causing concern to the people over the unfortunate incident at the military academy,” the army said in a brief statement.

“We will come up with measures to prevent such an incident from occurring again.”

An official at the academy said the male cadet is detained and being questioned. According to an official, he is likely to be expelled once the investigation is complete.

The academy denied trying to cover up the alleged assault.

“We reported the abuse case to Army Headquarters right after we became aware of the incident,” said the military academy official. “The female cadet strongly wanted the case not to be leaked to the press as she wished to continue her military studies here. So we investigated the case in secrecy to protect her identity.”

The official added the female cadet is receiving counseling.

By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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