Woman who was indicted for attempted rape cleared

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Woman who was indicted for attempted rape cleared

The Seoul Central District Court on Saturday acquitted a 45-year-old woman indicted for attempted rape, citing a lack of evidence that the divorcee had allegedly doped her older paramour and attempted to have sex with him after he told her he wanted to break up.

The ruling was the first time a Korean woman was indicted for attempted rape since the law was revised in June 2013 to extend prosecution to male rape victims.

Current law stipulates that a person convicted of rape must be sentenced to at least three years in prison. The previous version of the law was only applicable to female victims.

A woman who tries to force a man into having sex can be indicted for an “indecent act by force,” which is punishable by less than 10 years in prison or a fine of 15 million won ($12,540) or less.

The revised law also covers transgender people who identify themselves as women but are legally registered as men.

In handing down the verdict last week, the judges said they respected the jury’s decision, which unanimously found the defendant not guilty. Five of the nine-person panel were men.

The pair involved in the case reportedly met at a bicycle club in 2011 and started dating, even though the man, 51, was married and had children.

According to prosecutors, the man told the woman, only identified by her surname Jeon, in July 2014 that he wanted to end the affair.

When the two met at her house after his announcement, the defendant offered him a drink spiked with sleeping pills, claiming it would help heal a bone fracture in his hand, prosecutors said.

After he fell asleep, Jeon bound his hands and feet and attempted to have sex with him, but the victim suddenly woke up and tried to flee, prosecutors said.

The prosecution also believes Jeon struck him in the head with a hammer she set aside in advance as she screamed, “Everything is over. I’m going to kill you!”

The defendant was also indicted for battery. Prosecutors had sought a year and a half prison term for the defendant, along with medical treatment while in custody.

The court, however, said it was “hard to believe” the man’s testimony that he woke up in the middle of the night, noticed he was tied up and then tried to flee, only to fall back sleep and wake up again, this time remembering Jeon had smacked him in the head.

“It is logical that when a person [is affected by] zolpidem, the loss of consciousness would hold out,” the verdict read.

The judicial authority added that the argument by Jeon’s lawyer was more convincing.

According to the defense, Jeon had been given consent to tie up her lover and struck him with a hammer in self-defense after he tried to strangle her when she told him she had called his wife. The man was also believed to be sadistic in bed.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to challenge the Seoul Central District Court’s ruling.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, BAEK MIN-JEONG [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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