Governor’s son is accused of abuse

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Governor’s son is accused of abuse

The military court yesterday rejected a request for a detention warrant for a 23-year-old corporal in the Army’s 6th Division, the eldest son of Gyeonggi Governor Nam Kyung-pil, who is being investigated by military police on charges of assault and sexual misconduct against two fellow soldiers.

“He is not likely to destroy evidence or flee,” the division’s court ruled in its statement yesterday, “given that the suspect confessed to his crimes, the victims don’t want him to be punished and the crimes are not very serious.”

The decision came after Lim Tae-hun, the head of the Center for Military Human Rights, held a briefing, in which he insisted that the military police were favoring the young corporal and questioning him without detaining him because his father is a high government official.

“The military is trying to play down and conceal the case when it is more serious than it was first reported,” Lim said at the briefing earlier yesterday. “The military authorities also did not take any measures or hold press briefings as usual for the last five days.”

Lim said an informant, who identified himself as a military officer, had sent to the center a report related to the investigation of Nam’s son, which the officer said was uploaded on the military’s intranet to inform military police investigators and generals.

The corporal has been undergoing questioning since Aug. 13, after his alleged abuses were found in a survey conducted two days earlier questioning soldiers in the unit about possible abuses.

The military first announced on Saturday that the corporal had assaulted a fellow soldier, and tapped on the genital area of another through his clothes.

However, Lim said yesterday that the case described in the document was much more severe, and stated that between late July and early August, the corporal rubbed his genital area on a private’s hip through his clothes and tapped his hand over the soldier’s genital area.

From early April to early August, he is also accused of beating another private on seven separate occasions for not doing his job well, according to the report.

“Legal experts and councilors of sexual crimes are saying that the corporal has committed a very serious level of sexual misconduct,” Lim added.

“If the victim suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, the corporal is also likely to be charged with causing injuries by sexual misconduct.”

The Army yesterday requested an arrest warrant for the corporal, which was granted after a hearing at the 6th Division’s military court.

The armed forces came under fire for its belated actions, though it denied allegations that it had only sought a warrant following Lim’s briefing yesterday, saying that investigators decided to request an arrest warrant based on their investigation between Aug. 13 and Monday.

The military prosecution will decide whether to indict Nam’s son within the next week.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]






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