Officer takes own life following alleged rape

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Officer takes own life following alleged rape

A female Navy lieutenant, under the purview of the Navy’s headquarters at the Gyeryongdae compound, was found dead in her home on 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.

While the naval military police view the incident as a suicide, they arrested a male navy captain under allegations of having sexually assaulted the lieutenant the night before.

Her colleagues attempted to reach her by phone after noting her absence in the workplace.

When they went to her home and found she had apparently hanged herself, they contacted military police.

Near her body was a memo saying, “I guess I’m leaving empty-handed like this,” and “By tomorrow, I won’t be a person of this world.”

“There are no signs of forced entry,” military police said.

“She told me she was raped by a superior,” a friend told her family, who then told police.

The military police arrested a naval captain who was at the domicile.

According to naval military police, the two officers drank into the night at a departmental dinner. Police suspect the captain raped her after she lost consciousness.

“I can’t remember clearly cause I was drunk,” he said, adding that while they had sex, he maintains it was consensual.

Growing concerned over increasing incidents of rape and sexual assaults, the Navy started a campaign in 2015 to “Restore the stained honor of the Navy,” and introduced an accountability system for workplace dinners.

At least one individual must refrain from drinking and be responsible for taking their colleagues home. In the recent incident, this system was not followed.

“Whenever a rape happens in the military, the military prepares measures to prevent a reoccurrence, but it’s of no use,” said Lim Tae-hoon, head of Center for Military Human Rights.

“Even this time, the lieutenant was unable to report internally that she was raped and instead confessed to her civilian friend. The present system, which stops at light punishment, must be reformed.”

BY LEE CHUL-JAE [hwang.hosub@joongang.co.kr]

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