Park's former secretary accuses city employees of 'organized crime'

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Park's former secretary accuses city employees of 'organized crime'

The legal representatives of a former female secretary to the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who accused him of sexual harassment, hold their second press conference Wednesday in Seoul. [KIM SANG-SEON]

The legal representatives of a former female secretary to the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who accused him of sexual harassment, hold their second press conference Wednesday in Seoul. [KIM SANG-SEON]

Representatives of the late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon's former secretary — who has alleged extensive sexual harassment by her former boss — on Wednesday accused the Seoul Metropolitan Government of “organized crime” intended to hide and distort his wrongdoings.
 
In their second press conference on the headline-grabbing Me Too case, the victim’s legal representatives said the secretary had told nearly 20 of her colleagues in the Seoul city government about Park’s unsolicited sexual advances, but no one tried to help her.
 
Kim Jae-ryon, the victim’s lawyer, said the accuser mentioned the case to 17 people while she was working as Park’s secretary for four years, and three people after she transferred to a different team within the city government.  
 
Among the people the victim confided in was a human resources officer whose very job was to convey the issue to a person of a higher rank so the case could be confronted, Kim said.
 
The lawyer said the victim showed her colleagues the lurid text messages and photos of Park in his undergarments, which she had received from the mayor via Telegram, the encrypted chatting app.
 
Yet upon seeing them, her colleagues were quoted as saying, “He probably didn’t know [he shouldn’t behave that way]” and that he sent the texts and photos "because you’re pretty.”
 
Kim accused the Seoul Metropolitan Government of “aiding and abetting” Park’s sexual harassment toward his former secretary, saying she expects several people to be formally charged by investigative authorities now probing the case.
 
For this reason, the victim’s representatives, who include women’s rights activists from the Korea Women’s Hot Line and the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, said they would not accept the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s proposal to join its own investigative team of outside experts to look into the sexual harassment allegations.  
 
Instead, the representatives said they would formally ask the country’s human rights watchdog, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, next week to dig into the case.
 
“The Seoul Metropolitan Government is the main agent of taking responsibility, not the main agent of investigating” the sexual harassment allegations, the activists said in a statement. They urged Seoul government officials to faithfully cooperate with every probe to be carried out in connection to Park, and called on investigative authorities to press charges against everyone who should be held accountable.  
 
The victim’s representatives also demanded that the central government and Seoul government office prevent the secretary from experiencing any “secondary damage” after coming out publicly against Park.
 
A few hours after the press conference, Hwang In-sik, the Seoul government’s spokesman, said in a statement that he felt “regret” upon hearing about their refusal to join the city government’s probe team, adding that the rejection has made it “realistically difficult” for the city to hold the probe.
 
Hwang said the city would “proactively cooperate” with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and “do [our] best to reveal the truth.”
 
BY LEE SUNG-EUN, PYUN GWANG-HYUN   [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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