South Korean court says former Seoul mayor sexually harassed city employee

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Jan. 14 (UPI) — A South Korean court said a victim of sexual assault at Seoul’s city hall also was subjected to unwanted sexual advances from former Mayor Park Won-soon, who was found dead in July in an apparent suicide.

Seoul Central District Court referred to Park, once one of the most powerful politicians in the country, while ruling on a defendant who worked for the ex-mayor, local networks KBS and JTBC reported.

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The case centered on the unnamed defendant, a city hall employee, and allegations of his actions of sexual assault. On Thursday, the man was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for raping an intoxicated female colleague, the plaintiff, during last year’s April 15 parliamentary elections, according to Yonhap.

During the trial, the unidentified plaintiff alleged she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to sexual harassment. The woman said she was not only a rape victim, but also a victim of Park’s unwanted sexual advances, reports said.

The court said in its ruling the actions of the former mayor did result in the “mental suffering” of the plaintiff.

“Former Mayor Park would send [the plaintiff] sexual text messages, send her photos of himself in underwear, and write to her, ‘I want to smell you,'” the court said, according to JTBC.

South Korean authorities have kept a tight lid on investigations since Park’s death. According to local law, Park’s apparent suicide renders null and void any complaints from plaintiffs.

Last month, South Korean police officially ended their investigation into Park, citing lack of evidence of claims Park’s aides abetted harassment.

Seoul’s city hall also defended Park’s legacy. Representatives have said one victim who was preparing to go public with her accusations in July was lying, according to JTBC.

It is unclear whether the plaintiff in Thursday’s case was the same person. Kim Jae-ryun, the attorney for the unnamed plaintiff, said Thursday after the court ruling that the case should bring “some comfort” to her client, according to reports.