SEOUL – The woman who accused the deceased mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, of sexual harassment rejected on Wednesday the investigation proposed by the city council on his case and called for an independent process by the National Human Rights Commission.
“We believe that an external state entity should investigate the case, not the Seoul government,” said Lee Mi-kyoung, director of the Support Center for Sexual Violence in Korea, an organization that supports women and which hosted a roundtable to the press to present its position.
This association and the victim’s lawyer have said that they will file a formal complaint next week with the National Human Rights Commission.
During Wednesday’s act, to which the alleged victim (who remains anonymous) did not go, it was also said that the case goes beyond Park’s acts and that it was an “organized crime protected by power.”
“According to the victim, she asked for help from 17 people while she worked as an assistant and three others when she changed positions,” said Kim Jae-ryun, the woman’s lawyer, who has assured that she was a victim of Park during the years in which she was one of her assistants and that the harassment – in the form of inappropriate touching and messages – persisted even when she was transferred.
“Among all those people obviously are those in senior positions and those in charge of human resources, who should have notified people in positions of responsibility,” added Kim.
Park’s corpse was found on a mountain in Seoul on July 10 and everything indicates that he killed himself after the alleged victim filed a complaint for sexual abuse the day before.
Police closed the case after Park’s death in accordance with South Korean law when a suspect dies, but the former aide and supporting associations have called for an investigation.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government then offered to create an investigation committee that would integrate associations for the defense of women’s rights, human rights groups and legal experts, a formula that was rejected today by the alleged victim.
Following Wednesday’s press conference, the city council released a statement regretting the decision but expressing its intention to “actively cooperate” with a future investigation by the National Human Rights Commission.
The event has once again underlined the repeated cases of abuse and harassment suffered by South Koreans in their jobs and other areas of daily life.