[Newsmaker] Prosecution likely to summon former Justice Ministry official suspected of sexual harassment

By Jo He-rim

Published : Feb 14, 2018 - 13:00
Updated : Feb 14, 2018 - 15:27

The prosecution’s special investigation team is likely to summon a former Justice Ministry official suspected of sexual misconduct after the Lunar New Year’s holiday, as it speeds up fact-finding efforts into the sexual harassment scandal revealed by a female prosecutor.

According to the prosecution Wednesday, the team is looking into data seized in a rare raid at the Justice Ministry conducted the day before. 

Senior prosecutor and the head of Seoul Eastern District Prosecutor's Office Cho Hee-jin leads the prosecution's special investigation team. (Yonhap)


Seo Ji-hyun, a public prosecutor at the Tongyeong branch of the Changwon District Prosecutors’ Office, said in a televised news interview last month that a senior Justice Ministry official sexually harassed her in front of many others at a funeral in 2010. She also said she was unfairly transferred to the remote prosecutor’s office from Seoul by the perpetrator, Ahn Tae-geun.

The investigation team is looking into whether Ahn abused his authority in transferring Seo, as the statute of limitations has lapsed for a sexual misconduct case. Ahn was the director of the public prosecutions bureau in 2015 when Seo was moved to the Tongyeong branch from the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecution’s team will decide when and how to summon Ahn after reviewing the data seized in the raid. The eight-member team will reportedly be working through the Lunar New Year’s holidays, which stretch from Thursday to Saturday, it added.

In addition to Seo’s case, the team is examining other sexual harassment and assault allegations. On Wednesday, it requested an arrest warrant for the chief prosecutor at the Goyang branch of the Uijeongbu District Prosecutor’s Office, on suspicions he harassed a subordinate working in the prosecution. The man was arrested without a warrant Monday.

The Justice Ministry also launched a sexual harassment prevention committee on Tuesday to examine any sexual misconduct that had occurred in the past and to aid victims.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)

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