Court denies warrant for prosecutor in Me Too case

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Court denies warrant for prosecutor in Me Too case

A court turned down an arrest warrant request on Wednesday in a case involving a former prosecutor who allegedly retaliated against a colleague for accusing him of sexual harassment.

The Seoul Central District Court dismissed the prosecution’s request to arrest Ahn Tae-geun, a former prosecutor accused of abusing his power and punishing a junior colleague for speaking up about his sexual misconduct.

“There are areas of contention about whether a crime has been committed,” the court said. “We do not recognize the need to detain the suspect under the current state of the investigation.”

Ahn is suspected of using his influence to have Seo Ji-hyeon, a district attorney, transferred to a position outside of Seoul after she raised allegations against him. Prosecutors filed for the writ on Monday.

Seo claims Ahn groped her during a funeral in October 2010. When she sought to formally raise the issue with the prosecution’s internal inspection office five years later, she was moved to the Tongyeong branch of the Changwon District Prosecutors’ Office.

Prosecutors are seeking to charge Ahn with abuse of power since the statute of limitations has expired for the sexual misconduct allegations.

The allegations became public in January after Seo made the revelation in a television news interview. Her story sparked Korea’s Me Too movement and led to other women coming forward with stories of harassment.

After Seo’s revelation, the prosecution launched a special investigative team to look into sexual misconduct allegations within its own circles, primarily Ahn’s case. Last week, a prosecution committee tasked with reviewing Ahn’s case recommended Ahn be indicted.

Ahn, who held his last position as chief of criminal affairs at the Ministry of Justice, was fired last June for offering cash to junior prosecutors over a private dinner.

Regarding the sexual misconduct allegations, he said he does not remember the incident and strongly denied he pulled strings to have Seo moved to her current post.

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