Thursday, December 04, 2008

Koreans protest suspended sentences for family charged with incest

Cheongju, South Korea - Thousands of Koreans have signed an on-line petition protesting a judge's decision to release four male family members who repeatedly sexually abused a 16-year-old girl with developmental disabilities. As reported by FRIDA earlier this week, a Korean court convicted the girl's grandfather and three uncles of sexually molesting her from 2001 to May of this year. But in his ruling, the judge handed down a three-year suspended sentence to three of the men and an 18-month suspended sentence to the other, because, he explained, the girl "needs continuous support and help from the accused, who are her family members.” Outrage at the judge's ruling has been immense. An internet based petition has gather more than 16,000 electronic signatures protesting the courts decision and hopes to collect 30,000 signatures by December 19th. As reported in the JoongAng Daily, protesters are calling for the impeachment of Judge Oh Jun-keun, and prosecutors are appealing the sentence. Here is a quote from the report:

“This is just unacceptable,” said Lee Eun-sang, deputy director of the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center. “Heavier punishments are handed down when a sex crime victim is a family member or a child or a disabled person. And in this case the victim fits all three categories. Yet the judge still spared the offenders from jail.”
For more information about this case, see this post by ICAD, and this post over at NTS are Weird. For readers who would like to respond to an ICAD poll on sentencing in this case, a Suspended Sentences Poll is here.