Father says senior prosecutor’s abuse led to son’s suicide

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Father says senior prosecutor’s abuse led to son’s suicide

The father of the prosecutor who ended his life in May filed a petition for an investigation to the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Blue House in which he alleges that the severe verbal abuse and maltreatment his son suffered at the hands of his boss are what caused him to commit suicide.

The 33-year-old prosecutor from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, surnamed Kim, hung himself in his home in Mok-dong, Yangcheon District, southwestern Seoul, on May 19. A suicide note was found next to his body.

“All prosecutors face consistent pressure to complete their work,” read the father’s petition, “but my son suffered regular verbal abuse.”

“I’m tempted to commit suicide at least once a day whenever I hear my supervisor swearing at me,” read a text message Kim sent to his friends in April. “He scolded me throughout the entire get-together dinner.”

“I smiled while he swore at me to help myself withstand it,” read another message. “But then he swore at me for being too confident. I just can’t stand it anymore. I want to die.”

A college friend of Kim said, “Kim said it tormented him to go to his supervisor because he would poke Kim with the document folder and verbally abuse him.”

In late April, Kim sent a text message to his college friends that read, “I wrote a suicide letter because I was so depressed, but then I thought of my mom, dad and you guys …”

Kim had called his mother in Busan on May 7 and cried during the entire phone call, recalled his mother. “He rarely used to complain about the difficulties he faced,” she said. “When I asked if he wanted me to go to Seoul, he said that it was fine and that he would overcome it.”

In his suicide letter, Kim wrote about the stress of his work but did not mention any specific event or person as the reason for his suicide.

Kim started working as a military judicial official before starting his career as a prosecutor on April 2015, when he was dispatched to the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office.

Kim’s friends and colleagues remembered Kim as a vibrant person who enjoyed sports. He joined a soccer club when he was studying at the Seoul National University School of Law and played in the Korea-Japan prosecutor’s soccer competition in 2015.

The supervising prosecutor was transferred to the Seoul High Prosecutor’s Office on June 10, after Kim’s death. When asked about his junior prosecutor’s death, he sent a text message that read, “I’m not in the appropriate situation to talk about this case.”

As a result of the father’s petition, the Seoul Southern District is conducting a probe into whether Kim was abused by his boss and its linkage to his suicide.

BY SOHN GUK-HEE [shin.sooyeon@joongang.kr]
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