15 South Korean Military Officials Charged for the Death of Sexual Abuse Victim

South Korean military prosecutors have charged 15 Air Force officials over the death of an officer who took her life after alleging sexual abuse by a colleague.

Those charge include colonels accused of failing to properly report the death of Master Sergeant Lee to the Defense Ministry, colleagues suspected of destroying evidence, and officers accused of leaking the sexual harassment Lee faced to the unit she transferred to.

“We will put utmost efforts to sustain prosecution so that the defendants will receive punishment corresponding to their misconduct,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Oct. 7, as quoted by Yonhap News Agency.

The charge comes after a months-long investigation into the incident that sparked public outcry and forced Air Force Chief of Staff Lee Seong-yong to resign.

The incident also forced President Moon-Jae-in to publicly apologize.

A total of 38 officials will also face disciplinary measures, including those facing trials and those who tried to cover up the incident, according to the Defense Ministry.

Lee took her own life last May, three months after a colleague of the same rank, surnamed Jang, allegedly groped her.

Authorities arrested Jang last June and he is currently standing trial.

Following a series of sexual abuse cases involving the military, the National Assembly passed a legislation last August to require service members involved in the cases to stand trial in civilian courts rather than military courts.


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