After many months of investigating the suicide death of a sexually harassed non-commissioned officer, South Korean military prosecutors faced criminal charges against 15 people, and a total of 38 people were disciplined, the defense ministry in Seoul said. The case outraged public opinion and sparked a wave of criticism against the armed forces. South Korea’s president, Mun Dze In, officially apologized for the negligence, and Li Seong Jong, the air force chief of staff, resigned.
In the case of suicide, the non-commissioned officer of aviation military prosecutors brought criminal charges against 15 people, and a total of 38 people were disciplined. “We will make every effort to maintain the proceedings, so that the accused receive punishments that are commensurate with their crimes,” South Korea’s defense ministry said in a statement released on Thursday.
The accused include a senior sergeant suspected of molestation and the colonels who allegedly concealed information in a report regarding the death of a woman, wrote the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Suicide of a sexually harassed non-commissioned officer
A sergeant major named Li took her own life in May. The investigation found that three months earlier she had been sexually harassed by a man named Dzang, also a sergeant senior, and that her superiors had refused to help her and tried to cover up the incident.
The case outraged public opinion and sparked a wave of criticism against the armed forces. South Korea’s president, Mun Dze In, officially apologized for the negligence, and Li Seong Jong, the air force chief of staff, resigned. A number of sexual violence teams in the military have been created, but it is unclear whether the army will be able to deal effectively with this problem, assesses the Yonhap agency.
The results of the investigation disappointed the relatives of the deceased, who are demanding an additional investigation, and that the officials who dealt with the case at the beginning should also be charged.
15 people accused in connection with the harassment of an aviation non-commissioned officer
Dzang was arrested in June with the media coverage of the case and is currently under trial. In addition to him, 14 other soldiers were accused, while 10 people arrested during the investigation avoided criminal charges, Yonhap reported, quoting a statement from the Ministry of Defense.
Among the detainees were, among others, two other non-commissioned officers who also allegedly molested Li in 2019-2020 and tried to persuade her to withdraw her complaint against Dzanga. One of them most likely died in July by suicide in military custody.
Main photo source: Reuters