Orchestra offices, its network raided

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Orchestra offices, its network raided

Police raided the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and its network administrator on Wednesday to determine which of the organization’s employees accused its former President Park Hyun-jung of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that it sent eight agents on its cyberinvestigation team to the orchestra offices and its server management company, where they confiscated computers, cell phones, flash drives and emails.

The raid came after two employees from the orchestra office refused to be questioned.

“So far, we have only questioned [Park],” a police officer said. “This raid was meant to clearly figure out the facts and whom to investigate, because the arguments from both sides are different.”

The city orchestra added that authorities raided the office in order to identify the employees who distributed a statement to the press using a foreign email account and to verify whether that statement was valid.

On Dec. 2, 17 out of the 30 employees in the city orchestra’s office distributed a statement to the media claiming Park had sexually and verbally harassed her subordinates and demanded her resignation.

The statement also asserted that Park abused her authority by revising the organization’s provisions regarding personnel and hiring her friends’ children or her students without going through proper employment channels.

Park fired back at them on Dec. 19, filing an appeal that the allegations were groundless and that the employees had falsely and anonymously accused her. She also called on authorities to identify the 17 employees.

And she also filed a defamation suit against users who posted disparaging commentary online.

Park stepped down on Dec. 29, a day before the orchestra’s board of directors was supposed to discuss whether to officially dismiss her.

The case took another turn when Park became entangled in a dispute with the orchestra’s artistic director and principal conductor, Chung Myung-whun, whom she argued in a later press conference had managed “the city-run orchestra as if it were his own private club rather than a proper public organization.”

Park also directed other accusations at Chung, claiming that he used orchestra funds to pay for a hotel while his house was being renovated. Chung later denied all the allegations and hinted that there had already been conflicts between Park and the orchestra.

At the end of last year, the orchestra’s board of directors extended Chung’s contract as the artistic director and principal conductor for another year.

Park Hyun-jung announced her resignation in late December.

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

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