Prove your innocence publiclyWith Prosecutor-General Chae Dong-wook formally resigning from office, he became the first prosecution chief to do so over a personal scandal. He has dropped his lawsuit against the Chosun Ilbo, which first reported that Chae had an out-of-wedlock son, although he also declared he will try to clear his name through a DNA test. But Chae must remember that he remains a public figure, regardless of his resignation, until he unveils the full truth.
In his farewell speech, Chae maintained that he lived his life as an honest man, with nothing to be ashamed of as a husband and father, and denied an internal investigation led by the Justice Ministry that sided with the love-child allegation in the news report. But if Chae was falsely accused, all this raises questions about why he was giving up the lawsuit. He said he wanted to protect his family from the pain and damage a lengthy court battle could bring when he returned to civilian life. He nevertheless said he would do his upmost to seek the mother’s consent to have the boy take a DNA test to prove he was not his biological father. He said he will take strong legal action for the defamation after the DNA test results.
But his explanation is not persuasive in light of his previous remarks. When he filed the lawsuit, he claimed the Chosun Ilbo report was 100 percent a fabrication, insisting he never had an affair with the alleged woman with the woman. He said he hoped he could verify the truth with the court’s help through DNA tests of the mother and her son. Chae also said he will file a court motion demanding DNA tests. Since Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-an ordered an internal investigation into Chae’s personal life on Sept. 13, Chae said he will take legal action separately from the investigation to clear his name. But it is unclear why Chae changed his mind after he stepped down.
The scandal is failing to go away even after Chae’s resignation. TV Chosun interviewed a woman who allegedly worked as a housekeeper in the woman’s house. The housekeeper] claimed she saw Chae frequent the house and act as father to Lim’s son. Chae flatly denied the report.
The society was forced to play witness to the allegations around the prosecutor-general’s personal life for the last three weeks. The case does not simply involve Chae and his family. The scandal will never go away unless the truth is verified. In his farewell speech, Chae emphasized that the prosecution must verify the truth and apply the law accordingly. If any part of the scandal is true, Chae should apologize. If not, he should stop stalling and prove his innocence publicly.