Child molester nabbed near a school

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Child molester nabbed near a school

Police belatedly announced yesterday that a 63-year-old former sex offender was arrested last month for luring four very young girls off an elementary school playground in Yeongam County, South Jeolla, sexually molesting them and taking nude photos.

The man, identified by the surname Park, allegedly went to the playground on Saturdays when there was no guard on duty. One of the victim’s mothers called the police when she found blood smeared on her daughter’s garments.

Park, a former sailor, was arrested on April 26 and indicted on May 13, police said.

He is accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl on April 19 and two 8-year-olds and one 9-year-old on the afternoon of April 26, according to the Mokpo branch of the Gwangju District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday.

The school has a guard on duty on the playground but only on weekday afternoons.

The first victim was reportedly molested on the school’s playground on April 19 and then taken to a nearby mountain. Park assaulted her again in the woods and took a photo of her.

Park met his second and third victims on the schoolyard around noon on April 26 and gave them money to go to a nearby market to buy him gum. He then allegedly took them one at a time to a remote area to sexually assault them and snapped naked pictures of them with his phone.

Two hours later around 4 p.m., Park approached the last victim and asked her to help him send a text message on his phone. He allegedly threatened her on the playground, sexually assaulted her and photographed her.

Park was arrested around 6 p.m. near the school after the final victim’s mother called the police after finding blood on her daughter’s garments.

Park was sentenced to three and a half years in jail in 2002 for child molestation.

His trial is slated for next Thursday at Gwangju District Court.

Similar cases of sexual assault of children on playgrounds occurred four years ago. In June 2010, a man in his 40s walked into an elementary school in Seoul at around 10 a.m., threatened an 8-year-old girl with a knife, took her to his house and brutally raped her.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, CHOI KYUNG-HO [selee@joongang.co.kr]

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