Mayor Oh makes his stand on sexual harassment
“I convey my deepfelt apology for the sexual harassment and abuse incident that took place during the mayorship of former mayor,” Oh said in a press briefing Tuesday. “The victim and her family have gone through an excruciating time over the past year. I am very sorry as current mayor of the city.”
Park’s former secretary filed a complaint with the police last July 8 claiming the mayor sexually harassed her for years and that her coworkers turned a blind eye.
Park found out about the former secretary’s intention to file a police complaint a few hours before from his special adviser on gender equality, according to prosecutors. Park went missing the next day and was found dead on July 10.
Police concluded he committed suicide.
A police investigation was closed due to the death of the suspect. The victim requested an investigation by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, which in January concluded that Park did sexually harass the former secretary.
“I have already voiced my support for the victim to help her return to work [at the city government] and, as I pledged during my campaign, the city government will be launching an independent committee of experts unaffiliated with the city government to handle sexual harassment and abuse reports in the city government,” Oh said.
“From now on, anyone who commits sexual harassment or abuse in the city government will face zero-tolerance," Oh said. He added that the city government will take disciplinary measures against any official found to be spreading false information about a victim of sexual harassment, or divulging unwarranted information about the victim.
The victim of Park's sexual harassment was described as an “alleged victim” by a number of female lawmakers last year, as if they doubted her claims. Democratic Party Reps. Nam In-soon, Ko Min-jung and Jin Sun-mee, were amongst those reported to have used the term, and have apologized.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]