Uncovering the leakHow did the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon come to learn he had been charged for sexual harassment by one of his secretaries?
The accuser had filed charges with the police at 4:30 p.m. July 8 and was questioned until 2:30 a.m. the next day. On July 9, Park suddenly cancelled all his appointments and disappeared. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he had been briefed about the case after the police questioned his accuser. Those protecting the victim pressed charges with the prosecution to investigate whether state authorities had breached confidentiality and caused secondary harm to the victim by informing the defendant.
Only two authorities — the police or the Blue House — could have tipped Park off. The police already said that they had reported the charge against Park to the Blue House. The police and Blue House both deny having informed Park of the charges filed by her secretary.
Police had stopped the investigation due to the death of the suspect, but they must reopen the case by investigating how the information was leaked.
The government will have committed a serious crime if authorities collaborated to help a powerful figure at the expense of a helpless victim. The government cannot speak for fairness, equality and justice if its criminal system serves to protect the sitting power. The tip-off to the suspect or any attempt to persuade and intimidate the victim would have seriously infringed on the victim’s civil rights.
Former President Park Geun-hye was impeached on charges of leaking confidential government materials to unauthorized figures. The prose probe was launched on the allegation that she had shared information on state affairs with her private friend.
The main opposition United Future Party plans to press for a parliamentary or special probe into the case. If the state authorities dilly-dally on the investigation, demand for an outside probe will mount. Women’s rights groups also are vowing to take the affair to the end. President Moon Jae-in had ordered the prosecution to reopen past sexual criminal cases involving figures from the past governments to “get to the bottom of the crimes committed on the socially weak.”
City government officials ignored pleas and complaints from the victim, who allegedly endured yeas of sexual harassment by Park. They also must come under investigation. A former deputy mayor under Park, who is now a lawmaker for the ruling party, even accused the victim of making up stories. Her pleas must no longer be ignored.