New details come to light in high school assault investigation

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New details come to light in high school assault investigation

The local education authority has unveiled new information in an investigation regarding sexual misconduct allegations against a public high school principal and four of its teachers.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, which has been carrying out an inspection on the school since July 22, revealed on Monday that one of the teachers in question, Teacher D, who was previously charged with sexually harassing six female teachers and his students, had proposed having a sexual relationship with one of his pupils during class.

“According to his female students, he continued to verbally harass his students - which had nothing to do with the class - going so far as to propose a sexual relationship,” Kim Hyeong-nam, an inspector with the local education office, said in a radio interview on Monday.

According to the victims, the sexual misconduct claims against the principal and teachers did not surface right away because the suspects were so embedded in the school’s operation.

“Four out of the school’s six founding members were accused of sexual misconduct in 2013,” said a relative of one of the victims, a female teacher at the school.

One of the five suspects, referred to in the case as Teacher B, who was alleged to have repeatedly touched and been physically inappropriate toward female students since 2014, was never punished and was appointed to head one of the high school’s three grades.

And another suspect, Teacher A, who is alleged to have groped another female teacher in 2014, was the school’s chief academic adviser at the time.

Teacher C, who was accused of having physically harassed four female students from 2014, is currently in charge of artistic and athletic affairs.

The principal is alleged to have sexually molested a female teacher in his office in early 2014 and improperly handled sexual misconduct accusations lodged against other teachers.

Teacher B is believed to have physically and verbally harassed senior students. A renowned college adviser, he was once the head instructor for the Korean Council for University Education and often appeared on radio programs.

“He let us study in the physics laboratory and frequently touched our shoulders,” said one senior at the school. “If we fell asleep, he would put his hand inside our blouses and touch our breasts.”

“A friend of mine avoided him after he sexually harassed her,” another senior also said, “and he prohibited her from using the laboratory after that.”

When questioned by a JoongAng Ilbo reporter, teacher B refused to comment, only saying that he was not “in a position to talk about the case.”

The local education authority will expand its investigation to look into the suspect’s former workplaces, where they are believed to have committed similar misconduct.

It added that it is currently planning to forward the case to investigative agencies if it can find proof of sexual misconduct at five or more schools.

In a separate case, the police are looking into other sexual misconduct allegations against the principal of another public school in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, who is accused of sexually harassing a female teacher.

“The victim said that the principal took her to her room at a training workshop at a resort in Taean, South Chungcheong, after they had been drinking, then tried to touch her and asked for a kiss,” said a police officer from the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency.

The police are planning to summon the 60-year-old principal sometime this week.

When questioned, the suspect stated that he was drunk and did not recall the events of that night.

BY KIM BONG-MOON and LIM MYOUNG-SOO [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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